UK airline bosses call for financial aid, certainty tests

Faced with the new travel restrictions, the managing directors of the UK’s largest airlines have written to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking for financial aid and a reduced testing regime. Airlines bosses say new travel uncertainties are expected to cause lingering financial hardship for the industry.

UK airline bosses want UK government to ease travel restrictions and provide financial assistance. Photo: British Airways

British Prime Minister accused of ‘haphazard and disproportionate’ travel strategy

The letter co-signed by airline luminaries such as British Airways CEO Sean Doyle, Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss, and Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary says the PM has disrupted plans for travel millions of people using a “haphazard and disproportionate” travel strategy. The result is that UK-based airlines only sold around 30% of their inventory of available seats this winter.

The CEOs of Loganair, Jet2, Tui, easyJet and airline lobby group Airlines UK also signed the letter. The UK government agreed to a meeting between airline bosses and officials later on Monday. The overnight publication of the letter is a preemptive fire through government arcs by the UK air transport industry.

“We and our clients feel genuinely disappointed, as we believed that a more pragmatic and evidence-based approach to travel, in line with the rest of the world, had been achieved and accepted by all parties concerned a few months ago. barely,», We read in the letter.

THE CEO of Virgin Atlantic was a signatory to the letter to the British Prime Minister. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

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Expensive and ever-changing testing regime upsets UK airline bosses

What seems to have shaken airlines up is an ever-changing set of travel and quarantine rules that force the British to stay at home. Ideally, airlines would like the UK government to do away with all testing for fully vaccinated travelers.

This week, the UK government is meeting to consider replacing quarantine for travelers from Red List countries with home isolation. But the government should also stick to existing requirements for a pre-departure lateral flow test for all passengers, regardless of vaccination status, and a PCR swab after they return to the UK.

Airlines bosses claim that despite their promise to do so, the UK government has not refused private operators to charge exorbitant fees for mandatory PCR testing. These additional costs also deter travelers.

“As executives of UK airlines, we are deeply concerned about the government’s haphazard and disproportionate approach to travel restrictions following the emergence of the Omicron variant,“said the letter.

easyJet Berlin Getty
The CEO of easyJet was another signatory of the letter to Boris Johnson. Photo: Getty Images

UK airlines seek additional financial support

In addition to removing “disproportionate” testing regimes, airline bosses would also like emergency financial aid to go with them through the winter and an extension of maturity dates for previously issued pandemic loans.

Additionally, if travel restrictions are not relaxed soon, the UK airline industry may also seek a leave program similar to the aid given to the US airline industry by the US government.

“We urge you to meet with us, to understand the problems that we and our customers are now facing as a result of these measures, which the Secretary of Transportation himself admitted could kill the travel industry. We urge you to act now to prevent this from happening,Adds the letter.

Airlines bosses say current testing regimes add little value to UK security, but are extremely disruptive. Ever-changing rules deter people from traveling, which negatively impacts the airline’s bottom line.

The CEOs of the airlines got their wish for a meeting. Whether the UK government acts on industry concerns after Monday’s meeting is another question.

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