Airline bosses demand a green list expansion – ‘can’t go through another ruined summer’

EasyJet chief calls for support for industry from the government

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The bosses of easyJet, Jet2, Tui, Loganair and Manchester Airports Group (MAG) have joined forces and sent a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to get the green list expanded. They have asked the Government to drive down the cost of testing and agreed that the Balearics and Canaries should be added to the list next.

EasyJet CEO, Johan Lundgren, said: “All the data supports the fact that much of Europe could be opened up to safe travel.

“It is counter intuitive, given the success of the vaccination programme, that the UK has the most-restrictive system.”

And he warned: “The UK is falling behind.

“Spain has opened up for travel with no restrictions.

“The UK proposes expensive testing even on green list countries.

“We’re saying ‘Expand the green list, get rid of this confusion over amber and make good on the promise to drive down the cost of testing.”

Jet2 and Jet2Holidays CEO, Steve Heapy, explained: “If you look at the data for a large number of countries they could be on the green list.

“The Government is being over cautious and the green list could be increased with very little risk [given] 60 percent of the UK population have had one dose of vaccine and 35 percent two doses.”

He continued: “The Government also needs to look at the people who have had the vaccine.

“At the moment there is no benefit from that.

“The Government approach is ultra-cautious [and] we are being left behind.”

All the bosses agreed that islands like the Balearics or the Canaries, in Spain, should be added to the list immediately.

TUI UK managing director, Andrew Flintham, said: “Other European countries are looking at us with incredulity.

“Some islands like the Balearics and Canaries could move to the green list.”

MAG chief executive Charlie Cornish said: “We need more countries on the green list [and] if you travel to a green country you should not be subject to tests.

“Green should mean green and you should travel without restrictions.”

He explained: “There are a number of countries – the Balearics, the Canary Islands – which should be on the list now.

“The industry will be hugely disappointed if the Government doesn’t add more countries.”

The airlines claimed that they are not receiving enough support and urged the Government to step up.

Easyjet CEO warned: “The UK industry can’t go through another ruined summer without grave consequences and in that case the Government has to step up with a plan.

“First we want travel to restart in a safe way. That is the foremost thing. If for any reason that does not take place, we need the Government to step in to support this industry.

“This industry was the first hit, it was the hardest hit and it looks like it will be the last to come out.”

Loganair CEO Jonathan Hinkles agreed: “The industry can’t cope with what would be a fifth winter season in succession.

“We need more countries on the green list.”

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