The head of the European airports association ACI Europe has called on EU governments to follow the UK’s lead in producing a roadmap for reopening travel.

ACI Europe director general Olivier issued the demand as EU leaders met for a video summit on Thursday, warning that EU air passenger traffic “continues to tumble”.

Jankovec said: “The UK is now working on a progressive and coordinated restart of international travel. We are anxious to see the EU follow suit.”

The association reported passenger traffic across Europe in the first two weeks of February was down 89% on 2020, with the sharpest declines in the UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

It also reported a continuing decline in the number of air routes in operation, with a cumulative total of 6,914 lost in February, compared with 6,663 in January and 6,001 in November.

Jankovec said: “The figures lay bare the continued collapse in air traffic and air connectivity. They point to a travel and tourism sector in agony.

“The EU and governments across Europe must start planning for a progressive and coordinated restart of international travel in time for the summer season.”

He pointed out: “The UK is now working on this through its Global Travel Taskforce with a target date set for May 17.”

Jankovec urged the EU set up “a dedicated Taskforce for the Restoration of Free Movement of People” in line with the demand of the Tourism Manifesto group of European travel and tourism organisations this week.

He said: “This should include the establishment of vaccination and testing certificates for travel purposes, as championed by the Greek government.”