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  • Heathrow
    Heathrow
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    The success of the UK’s vaccination programme and advancements in testing technology mean that the restart of international travel and trade can now be safely achieved.

    Heathrow believes the Global Travel Taskforce (‘GTT’) should take advantage of this to help society emerge from the Covid crisis and to help kickstart the UK’s economic recovery.

    Heathrow recommends that the Government build upon its 2020 international travel corridors policy with an updated risk-based approach which can protect the UK, while enabling passengers, businesses and the aviation sector to plan for the future with sustained travel and trade at-scale. The plan we’ve submitted to the GTT is based on a dynamic 4-tier system that closely monitors emerging data – particularly around variants of concerns – and applies differing controls for differing country risk levels to keep the UK safe, but also allows the economy the opportunity to begin recovering. 

    Four tier traffic light system
    Heathrow's proposed four tier traffic light system

    Not only would this approach enable people across the UK to reunite with friends and family, or take a well-earned break; it would ensure that UK trade can begin to recover. Most of the value of Britain’s exports is actually handled via the bellyhold of passenger aircraft and as these aircraft sit idle, so too does the trade that flows underneath the feet of passengers. Getting passenger planes moving again is absolutely key to creating the capacity exporters from every part of the country need to get their goods to customers around the world.

    “The UK’s progress in the global vaccine race coupled with advances in testing, means that Ministers no longer need to choose between public health and the economy - a risk-based approach to international travel will allow us to protect them both."

    John Holland-Kaye , Heathrow CEO

    Recent modelling from Oxera and Edge Health, released last week, has shown the significant advancements in testing technology, notably that rapid antigen tests now provide a strong level of effectiveness in detecting the virus, and that a single Covid-19 test on departure/arrival is as effective as the 10-day self-isolation policy in reducing imported cases of the virus.

    The GTT is considering these findings and is expected to produce its detailed roadmap in the coming weeks.

    Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye said: “The UK’s progress in the global vaccine race coupled with advances in testing, means that Ministers no longer need to choose between public health and the economy - a risk-based approach to international travel will allow us to protect them both. Restarting trade and travel to key markets like the US after May 17th will be key to the Government achieving its Global Britain ambitions and helping communities across the UK to level up.”