'Lack of transparency' in green list update, Stansted says

A sign on chrome metal: Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

Stansted Airport's operators have slammed today's update to the UK's safe travel lists.

Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airports Group (MAG) claimed the government does not trust its own system, and that jobs in the aviation industry are being put at risk.

The UK government's red, amber and green Covid-safe travel lists were updated today (June 3) with popular holiday destination Portugal 'downgraded' from a green to amber-list country.

Mr Cornish said: "It is now clear the Government doesn’t trust its own system and that international travel is being unfairly scapegoated, with tens of thousands of jobs placed at risk in the process.

“Low-risk destinations continue to be left off the green list despite clear evidence they are safe to visit."

A sign reads "Testing Centre" with an arrow straight on

Stansted Airport now houses a private Covid-19 test centre for international flyers - Credit: Archant

Covid-19 restrictions easing on May 17 saw a restart to international leisure travel after a ban on holidays last March.

To support Covid-safe travel, countries are on red, amber or green lists, with holidaymakers facing different rules and paperwork on their return to the UK.

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In today's update, there are no new green-list countries.

Seven countries were added to the red list, including Egypt and Bahrain.

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Charlie Cornish added: "We’re stuck with a system that is clearly not fit for purpose and will deny people the opportunity to travel abroad safely this year.

"The lack of transparency is shocking and totally unacceptable.

"If the Government has information that supports its decisions, then it needs to publish it.

"We have repeatedly asked for this data, but we are being left in the dark about how it is making these choices, with no opportunity for scrutiny or challenge.

“That is not the way to go about limiting people’s freedoms and crippling the country’s travel and tourism sectors."

The decision to remove Portugal from the green list follows concerns around the spread of the Delta (Indian) coronavirus variant.

Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, said: "While we are making great progress in the UK with the vaccine rollout, we continue to say that the public should not travel to destinations outside the green list."

He added ministers had decided where to make changes to the lists based on biosecurity research.

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