EasyJet lobbying for pre-Christmas scrapping of testing requirements

EasyJet continues to lobby the government to announce plans to scrap all testing requirements ahead of the peak booking season.

The airline’s chief commercial officer Sophie Dekkers told a World Travel Market debate on the future of travel that a “lack of consistency” of testing protocols across international markets was hampering aviation’s recovery.

Currently, travellers who are not fully vaccinated or have been to a red list country must take a lateral flow test to enter the UK.

However, in France non-vaccinated travellers need to self-isolate for seven days upon arrival and take a PCR test once their quarantine ends.

Dekkers pointed out the UK government had made more than 50 changes to Covid-related travel restrictions during the pandemic.

She said: “It makes it very difficult. We’re seasoned travellers and even I was asking if I want to travel just after Christmas or not because of the extra stress.

“I know [the travel industry] are all aligned in urging the government to talk about removing the requirement for testing some time in the new year, but we’re saying can we make this announcement in December.

“The key booking period is Christmas Day, Boxing Day and just after Christmas. If the announcement was made before then that would be brilliant as people would be able to book with a lot more confidence than they have done.

“We’re lobbying for that decision to be made before Christmas and take advantage of that peak booking period.”

Dekkers explained how the pandemic had “accelerated” development at the carrier and that customers were engaging more with the easyJet app than they previously had done.

Asked if travel’s business model was broken, she replied: “I don’t think it is broken. I think we have learnt how to benefit [from the pandemic].”

Last summer, easyJet launched 11 domestic routes to meet customer demand for UK travel. Dekkers hinted that the routes would remain in place until 2024.

Looking ahead, Dekkers said: “There are going to be opportunities for us next year. We only try new things which we think are going to make us money. We think the demand is there as testing drops away.”

She added that 70% of the easyJet’s bookings are for travel in the next three months.

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