More work needed ahead of holiday easing, Stansted says

London Stansted Airport terminal. Picture: London Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport is the region's largest single-site employer - Credit: London Stansted Airport

The operators of Stansted Airport have said more work is needed to inspire confidence in international travel before restrictions ease.

Currently, flying to another country without a good reason could land travellers with a £5,000 fine, but restrictions could ease as early as Monday, May 17.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) said Covid-safe countries need to be added to the safe ‘green light’ list in time for summer bookings.

It also said the government ‘framework’ for the international travel sector should allow for restriction-free travel where it is safe, in light of the UK’s progress in testing for and vaccinating against Covid-19. 

A statement by MAG officials said: “"It is clear further work is needed in a number of areas to give travellers the confidence to book trips and set the UK’s aviation sector on a road to full recovery.  

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“Government needs to publish which countries will be in the green, amber and red categories of the ‘traffic light’ system at the earliest opportunity and confirm that travel can resume from May 17."

The statement also said the decision not to allow for restriction-free travel “represents a backward step from the travel corridors in place last year." 

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Stansted Airport’s operators acknowledged that the government’s Global Travel Taskforce framework, chaired jointly by the Health and Transport secretaries, is just a first-step in resuming international travel after more than a year of pandemic restrictions. 

The international travel sector is an important part of the region’s economy. 

Stansted Airport alone employs more than 10,200 people across 200 companies on its site. 

The Department for Transport (DfT) acknowledged the aviation sector’s importance to the region’s economy. 

A DfT spokesperson said: “We recognise the challenging times facing the travel industry as a result of Covid-19, and understand why the international travel sector is so important for residents in Essex reliant on its airport and coastal ports. 

“The Government has put in place a world beating package of support for UK businesses, with around £7bn benefitting the aviation sector and helping ensure it is ready for lift off, once safe to do so.”

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