Traffic light changes ‘will depend on June 21 decision’

The renewed block on international travel shifted attention to upcoming reviews of the green list and traffic light system, but no progress is expected until the government decides on its domestic policy.

The government made clear the June 21 easing of the domestic lockdown is taking priority, amid fears it could be delayed two to four weeks. A decision is due on June 14.

A senior industry source close to talks with the government suggested nothing would move forward “until we get clarity around June 21”.

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Following last week’s update, the next review of the green list is due by June 28, which is also the date of the first review of the traffic light system. However, the source complained: “The reviews are a mystery. We’ve no idea what will be included, when decisions will be made or the implementation dates.

“Why on earth are we at this point more than a year into the pandemic?”

Health secretary Matt Hancock suggested travel’s restart could be further delayed, telling MPs on Monday: “Restoring international travel in the medium term is . . . going to be challenging.”

However, the industry source insisted: “Changing dates doesn’t mean you don’t have a plan. It’s the plan that has gone awry. Meanwhile, Europe is forging ahead. Let’s have a plan and stick to it. Let’s have clarity.”

There is a further green list review due in the week leading up to July 19, just in time for most school holidays in England, then a second review of the traffic light system by the end of July and another green list review by August 9 – the last before the August bank holiday.

There are hopes a meeting of G7 leaders in Cornwall this week could give fresh impetus to a restart, with an industry source telling Travel Weekly: “We see no reason why the UK should not allow fully vaccinated passengers to travel from June 28, and we hope that will be discussed at the G7.”

The heads of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Delta, United, JetBlue and Heathrow united to call for a UK-US travel corridor ahead of the summit. Heathrow chief John Holland-Kaye hailed the UK and US as “the poster children of vaccination programmes”.

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