The government is being urged to introduce a risk-based approach to the restart of international travel.

The plea came today from more than 40 cross-party MPs and peers, backing a demand from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation.

This approach would allow for travel to low-risk nations with “minimal or no restrictions” while providing flexibility for restrictions on high risk nations, including those with Covid-19 variants of concern.

They also call for the introduction of rapid testing for international arrivals where required, and for any use of the ‘test to release’ policy to keep quarantine periods as low as possible.

The parliamentarians additionally repeated a demand for a recovery package for the aviation, travel and tourism industries.

Backers include transport select committee chair Huw Merriman,  former aviation minister Paul Maynard and ex-Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley.

Henry Smith MP, head of the Future of Aviation group, said: “I am grateful to colleagues for backing our call for the introduction of a risk-based approach to the reopening of international travel.

“We cannot begin our long road to recovery if we keep our skies shut throughout the summer months.

“The introduction of a risk-based approach to the restart of international travel provides the right balance between reopening travel and ensuring that we remain vigilant against Covid-19 variants of concern.

“The pandemic has been disastrous for our aviation, travel and tourism sectors and the consequences of a failure to build on the progress of our vaccination programme and back a risk-based reopening of international travel will be devastating not only to the businesses involved, but their employees, their communities and the UK economy as a whole.

“We can reopen international travel safely through a risk-based approach and the government must back this and put in place measures that allow our world class aviation, travel and tourism industries to begin to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and play their role in our national recovery.”