The Government has confirmed it will review its COVID travel rules in January, but it has not indicated whether this is likely to lead to a relaxing of testing travellers on return to the UK.
Aviation minister Robert Courts told an Airlines UK conference yesterday that the review will take place in January, adding: “We’ll be looking to see what we can do at that stage.”
But the Government has already begun discussions about the travel rules with the industry, according to Advantage Chief Executive Julia Lo Bue-Said.
She tweeted: “The minister today at #Airlines2021 gave nothing away. He did not say may or could he said the review taking place in Jan will involve industry engagement which has started.”
The minister’s comments follow complaints by airlines that testing for travellers is preventing Brits from booking overseas trips.
Fully-vaccinated travellers no longer need to take a test before flying to the UK, but they must take a test within two days of their arrival. Non-vaccinated arrivals must still test before travelling to the UK and take another test on day 8 as well as day 2. They must also quarantine for up to 10 days.
Since October, vaccinated arrivals have been able to take a later flow test rather than a more expensive PCR, but Willie Walsh, Director General of the airline body IATA, said these were still a barrier to travel.
“They have kept testing in place too long,” he told the Airlines UK conference.
“The UK has fallen from the number one market in Europe to number four, lagging behind Germany, Spain and France.”
People travelling or returning to the UK must also fill out a passenger locator form online, providing details of their vaccination status, which is adding to the stress of travelling and could be acting as a further deterrent, especially for elderly travellers and those not used to online form filling.