Heathrow is urging a “significant expansion” of green list countries and wants to see which destinations are expected to be open for summer holidays.
The call came as the London hub revealed a 6.2 million decline in passengers last month – down 92% on pre-pandemic figures for April – following more than a year of restrictions on non-essential travel.
The London hub said: “Whilst we welcome the lifting of the travel ban from 17th May, the green list is overly cautious, given the other controls in place on passengers travelling from low risk countries.
“The next review in 3 weeks’ time should bring a significant expansion to the list of ‘green’ countries, including the United States, to increase trade, reunite friends and families with their loved ones.
“Government should help people plan ahead by publishing a list of countries expected to be on the green list for the summer holidays so that passengers are not faced with high prices for last minute bookings.
“The rapid progress on vaccination and increased confidence in its effectiveness against variants of concern should allow a significant simplification of the ‘traffic light’ system at the end of June, including allowing fully vaccinated people to travel without restrictions.”
Heathrow added: “We welcome government plans to automate border checks, but until they have been implemented, ministers should ensure that every desk is staffed at peak times to avoid unacceptable queue times in immigration.”
The airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “The government’s green list is very welcome, but they need to expand it massively in the next few weeks to include other low risk markets such as the United States, and remove the need for fully vaccinated passengers to take two expensive PCR tests.
“Border Force’s claims that ‘long queues in immigration are inevitable’ smack of complacency – they are completely avoidable if ministers ensure that all desks are staffed at peak times.”