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Industry welcomes MPs’ call to end quarantine

Ryanair led a chorus of industry approval for a report by Parliament’s transport select committee which highlights the damaging impact of the government’s quarantine restrictions.

The select committee report, published today, calls for an end to blanket restrictions imposed on June 8 and urges the government to publish the scientific advice underlying the 14-day self-isolation requirements.

The MPs warn the measures will “damage the recovery of the sector and the wider economy”.

Ryanair also welcomed the committee’s recommendation of a temporary suspension of Air Passenger Duty (APD).

A Ryanair spokesperson said: “We welcome and support this report which calls on the UK government to abandon its damaging and useless 14-day visitor quarantine.

“Thousands of UK families are ignoring this useless quarantine and booking their family holidays in July and August.”

Abta also welcomed the report and its “acknowledgement that the travel industry is under extraordinary pressure”, noting the committee urged the government to “set out clearly the circumstances under which a Refund Credit Note is protected by the Atol scheme”.

Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, said: “The committee’s report correctly highlights that ‘the government should provide reassurance to passengers by setting out clearly the circumstances under which a Refund Credit Note is protected’.

“Abta has been calling for this all along. We look forward to the CAA giving a statement to make it abundantly clear that Refund Credit Notes evidence the financial protection of refunds that relate to package holidays under the Atol scheme.”

Tanzer said: “The government must now take urgent steps to issue a clear roadmap to restart international travel safely and with a more flexible and risk-based approach, to help the travel industry out of the current crisis.”

But Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade expressed dismay. He said: “We are deeply disappointed that the report does not focus on the challenges facing the industry in this existential crisis.

“The report does set out some of the things the government could and should be doing to get aviation back on its feet, most notably getting rid of the ruinous quarantine policy and introducing air bridges to low-risk countries as soon as possible, alongside a reversal of FCO travel advice.”

But Alderslade said: “This is the most devastating crisis to hit the industry in its history and a business-as-usual Whitehall approach to the recovery will not be enough when other countries are pumping billions into supporting their aviation sectors.

“It is crucial we see action on APD to incentivise passenger demand and ministers should underwrite CAA and NATS [National Air Traffic Services] charges.

“The government must decide quickly whether it sees an active role for itself in protecting one of its few world-class sectors.”

The MPs’ report does note: “We believe and expected the government strategy for the recovery of the aviation sector should be more developed given we are already some four months into the crisis.”

It recommends the government “publishes a strategy for the restart and recovery of the aviation sector as soon as possible”.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) also welcomed the report’s criticism of the UK’s quarantine measures.

Brian Strutton, Balpa general secretary, said: “The report highlights the lack of evidence for and damaging impact of the government’s botched 14-day quarantine policy.”

The GMB union agreed. In a statement, the GMB said the report had “shown the blanket 14 day quarantine is strangling any potential recovery for the sector, isn’t supported by the science and the government needs to act quickly to prevent mass job losses”.

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