Travel industry responds to updated ‘green list’

The expansion of restriction-free travel destinations has been welcomed, however the sector is urging the government for more clarity and financial support  

Yesterday (June 24), the UK government held deliberations to discuss the latest changes to its traffic light system, adding a further 15 countries to its international ‘green list’.  

Prior to the latest development, only 11 destinations were subject to restriction-free travel.  

London City Airport
Photo London City Airport

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), believes that “any extension of the green list is welcome” however, she stresses that “this is not yet the meaningful restart the aviation industry needs”.  

She said: “While this is not yet the vaccine dividend people in the UK had hoped for, it is welcome that government intends to exempt fully vaccinated travellers from quarantine. We urge the government to publish details on its plans and implement them as soon as possible to save what remains of the summer season. 

“In the meantime, the overly cautious approach continues to have major financial impacts for airports. The government should recompense aviation for the impact of that approach through significant sector-specific support. Unless more support is put in place, many jobs in aviation and travel will continue to be at risk.” 

European holiday destinations, including the Balearic Islands, Malta and Madeira, are some of the new additions to the green list. However, the exclusion of the US has shown to be a disappointment for the travel industry.  

"The government has not gone as far as it could have in opening up safe travel, but they clearly heard the industry’s voice yesterday and have responded,” said Brian Strutton, BALPA acting general secretary. “It isn’t good enough to survive on and the absence of any US routes is a bitter blow. With some countries looking to shut us out, it is now imperative that the bespoke financial support the Chancellor promised last year is delivered immediately.” 

Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO, added that he believes the latest announcement “is not justified by the data”.  

“The science shows that travel to many European countries would have very little impact on hospitalisation and this is even more the case now given that Covid-19 cases in Europe have declined, with many countries having lower infection rates than the UK.” 

Another review of the green, amber and red listed countries is expected to take place in three weeks’ time.  

Karen Dee spoke to Airports International earlier this month about her concerns regarding the “overly cautious” approach to the restart of air travel.