Flights abroad this summer, let alone this year, are looking more unlikely due to travel bans and quarantine restrictions remaining in place. But despite restrictions remaining in place, airlines such as Ryanair and British Airways among others are looking to restart flights in July.
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Ryanair especially has dominated the headlines after it announced it has set out plans to resume its flight capacity to 40 percent from July 1.
Ryanair has also said that it is against the UK and Ireland’s latest quarantine restrictions which will see anyone arriving into the UK and Ireland from abroad being subject to 14-day quarantine rules.
Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson said: “It is important for our customers and our people that we return to some normal schedules from 1 July onwards.
“Governments around Europe have implemented a four-month lockdown to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“After four months, it is time to get Europe flying again so we can reunite friends and families, allow people to return to work and restart Europe’s tourism industry, which provides so many millions of jobs.”
And while this may be a positive step for the travel and tourism industry, it could erode consumer confidence if it is not done slowly and safely.
Travel risk expert Lloyd Figgins is Chairman of the Travel Risk & Incident Prevention (TRIP), which is an independent think-tank dedicated to improving knowledge, education and awareness of travel risk management.
He’s also the author of The Travel Survival Guide and often provides commentary in the media.
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Mr Figgins spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk about why the travel industry could take a “very” long time to recover, despite plans to restart flights in July.
“The key thing here is to reestablish consumer confidence and I think that at the moment the travel industry is really hurting – and I totally get that – but what I would say is that if the travel industry does anything to erode consumer confidence I think they will suffer long into the future.
“But if the travel industry gets this right and adopts robust travel risk management procedures in order to keep people safe during a time of such uncertainty it will secure its future.
“But if it rushes into a return to travel without those appropriate safety measures in place, it will take a very, very long time for it to recover.
He added: I think it will take at least two years for us to get back to pre-COVID-19 figures in regard to travellers.
“And I think we have to live with the reality that no vaccine might be available for a very long time, if ever.”
But Mr Figgins did suggest that there might be one group of travellers who could be exempt from quarantine rules.
He added: “I think the business travel side of things is an opportunity to see what procedures can be put in place.
“We’re seeing concessions now for lorry drivers coming from France not subject to quarantine.
“If we were to open that up to say business travellers not being subject to quarantine and then see how that goes.
“It needs to be a stepped approach and it needs to be a measured approach.
“There’s no point opening up large resorts and having masses of people descending on these places because we’ve also got to have a consideration and a responsibility for local people in the places where we might travel and the risks we might be putting them into by visiting those areas.”
Lloyds Figgins’ book, The Travel Survival Guide, is available to buy on Amazon
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