April/May 2021

Manchester Airport Group calls for roadmap to restriction-free travel

The UK’s largest airport group, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), has responded to the recent update from the Prime Minister regarding the restart of international travel. While welcoming moves towards a risk-based approach to reopening the sector, the group has expressed significant disappointment at an apparent lack of any provision for a return to restriction free travel when conditions allow.

MAG owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, handling over 60m passengers per year prior to the pandemic. A MAG spokesperson said: “MAG welcomes the government’s desire to see international travel resume as soon as possible, and that it is still working hard to make 17 May the day when people can begin travelling overseas again. Throughout this crisis, the travel industry has recognised the need for measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and to respond to the emergence of new variants of concern, both in the UK and abroad.

“That is why it is good to see that the GTTF has developed a ‘traffic light’ system, based on the risk associated with travelling to different countries, and taking account of the success of the UK’s vaccination programme. However, it is hugely disappointing that the proposed framework includes no provision for a return to restriction-free travel, either now or in the future when the conditions are judged to be appropriate.

“Aviation has been the sector hardest hit by the pandemic, and its revival is key to the UK’s wider economic recovery. It supports more than one million jobs, helps British businesses to become global success stories and enables families to stay in touch and enjoy holidays abroad. It is vital that all those who rely on aviation – for holidays, employment or trade – can see a full roadmap to normality.”