Stansted Airport: 'Green list' for travel could include 130 countries
- Credit: Archant
Stansted Airport has called for the "green list" of countries open to UK visitors to be expanded when lockdown is eased - arguing that it could safely include over 130 destinations.
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) - which runs Stansted - warned that "hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds-worth of economic value hang in the balance" after the coronavirus pandemic dramatically reduced passenger numbers.
The Essex airport, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, has warned that it faces "a crisis on a scale like never before" after all but essential flights were grounded for much of the pandemic.
It believes restarting international travel is key to saving the industry, although the government has been cautious about committing to a timeline amid fears of a spread of the virus.
A study carried out by Oxera for Manchester Airports Group looked at the risk of new infections from July and August 2020, when the travel corridor scheme allowed people to visit countries in which rates were below a certain threshold.
In 2020, 62 countries were on the list - but the research argues the list could be safely expanded to more than 130 countries such as Spain, the United States, and Dubai once lockdown restrictions are eased.
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Oxera's modelling argues that virus prevalence rates are now three times higher in some parts of the world than they were in 2020, due to coronavirus vaccine roll-outs.
Mr Cornish said: "Throughout this pandemic, MAG and the wider travel industry has supported the need for strict measures to prevent the spread of the virus and respond to new variants.’
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"At the same time, the case for restarting international travel safely and at the earliest opportunity is clear.
"Hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds-worth of economic value hang in the balance, while families are desperate for a hard-earned holiday, or to be reunited with loved ones they have been separated from during the most challenging of years.
"The government’s vaccination programme is the envy of the world and this study shows that unlocking travel to a wide range of destinations is one of the many ways in which the British public can benefit from its success."