• Quote: ‘Airline bosses confident they have tools to enable safe and meaningful re-start to travel in May’

By Andrew Atkinson

Chief executives of airlines, including easyJet, Ryanair, Jet2.com, and Tui, companies that fly to and from Alicante-Elche airport, have sent a letter to UK PM Boris Johnson, amid Ministers ban on foreign travel set to be in place, until at least May 17.

Airline chiefs said in their letter they recognised restriction-free universal travel may not be possible by May 17: “However there can be no economic recovery without aviation, and we are confident we now have the tools to enable a safe and meaningful restart to travel in May,” the letter stated.

“Allowing us to return to our job of reuniting friends and family, supporting trade and business and allowing Britons to enjoy a well-earned break again.

“We believe vaccinated passengers should not be subject to travel restrictions and that testing can also reduce the barriers to travel, including for areas that are considered to present some risk.

“Only very high-risk areas would be subject to more stringent measures,” added the letter.

The PM was expected to outline the Government’s approach for easing restrictions on foreign travel, when its global travel task force reports on April 12.

British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Loganair, Ryanair, Tui and Virgin Atlantic along with trade body Airlines UK are names included in the letter.

When the ban is lifted it will be replaced by a ‘risk-based’ traffic light system – red, amber and green ratings.

The traffic light system will be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

Travellers arriving from countries rated green will not be required to isolate. Pre-departure and post-arrival tests will still be needed.

Amber or red restrictions will remain, with arrivals required to isolate, or enter quarantine.

They also called for further economic support for UK aviation – to stimulate and strengthen any recovery when it arrives.

The letter comes after the group of airline bosses called on the Government in February to outline a recovery road map for the industry – to be able to plan for summer holidays.