The outbreak of coronavirus saw countries worldwide close down their borders and prevent travel, in a bid to prevent further spread. With some lockdown measures in the UK being slowly lifted, many Britons are wondering when the travel ban will be lifted – after more than two months of restrictions.
One option to get travel up and running is to install air bridges between the UK and Europe, so Britons can have summer holidays.
Air bridges will effectively mean a travel link between the UK and another country, allowing quarantine immunity.
This could mean travel ‘corridors’ between countries in agreement with the guidelines.
The agreement would – it is assumed – mean lifting of the FCO travel advisory for the destinations in question.
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According to The Sun, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be “looking at all the options personally” to get EU-wide safe routes ready to go.
This is reported to be coming when the policy of 14-day quarantines for arrivals to Britain is reviewed on June 29.
However, this will not include travel to the US as a travel ban is expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
A report for The Sun quotes one senior government figure as saying: “Designing international travel corridors is very complex, not least because they are a cross-Whitehall problem.
“The aim is to have the first ones in place by mid-July, and one with the EU will be the first.”
Portugal’s foreign minister told the BBC he hoped an agreement between the UK and Portugal could be secured by the end of June.
In Spain, only UK citizens with permanent resident status can enter the country.
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From July 1, Spain will allow entry for some travellers without quarantining, but this will not include the UK.
Mr Johnson also reportedly has plans to negotiate deals with destinations further afield such as Dubai, Singapore and Sydney.
Tim Alderslade, of industry group Airlines UK, said: “The PM’s personal involvement is excellent news and will provide some real momentum.”
This could mean British holidaymakers can freely travel around Europe from July, without having to quarantine on arrival back into the UK.
Currently, any arrivals back to the UK need to quarantine for 14 days, and give contact details and an address to officials upon landing in the UK.
The Foreign Office (FCO) still warns against all but essential international travel.
However, recently there have been indications this advice could change as on the FCO’s website, the travel ban advice was amended to say: “This advice is being kept under constant review.”
Heathrow Airport’s chief executive has warned hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost in Britain if flights cannot resume quickly.
Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye told Sky News: “We cannot go on like this as a country. We need to start planning to reopen our borders.
“If we don’t get aviation moving again quickly, in a very safe way, then we are going to lose hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs in the UK just at the time when we need to be rebuilding our economy.”
Travel company TUI said has announced today it was cancelling beach holidays for British tourists until July 10 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is an extension of the cancellation date by 10 days as UK travel restrictions persist.
TUI had previously cancelled holidays up until the end of June.
Like many airlines and holiday companies, TUI had hoped a summer recovery would start in July, but Britain’s new 14-day quarantine rules for international arrivals, brought in on June 8, look to deter people from travelling.
TUI said in a statement on Thursday: “Tui UK and Ireland today confirms that due to the ongoing travel restrictions all beach holidays up to and including 10 July will be cancelled.
“With so much uncertainty around when travel will be able to recommence, customers due to travel before the end of August have the opportunity to amend their holiday for free, so they don’t have to pay until closer to their new departure date.
“We are constantly monitoring the situation and will start taking people on holiday again as soon as we are able to do so.”
Current flight information from airlines
- Virgin Atlantic will begin some routes from July 20, with more to come in August.
- EasyJet will restart a “small number” of flights on June 15, with all passengers and cabin crew required to wear face masks.
- Ryanair plans to begin 40 percent of its flights from July 1, subject to travel restrictions being lifted and safety measures being implemented at airports.
- British Airways is reviewing plans to start 50 percent of its schedule from July, due of the new quarantine rules.
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