Bosses of airlines and vacation companies have teamed up to attack the UK government’s ‘utterly confusing’ advice on overseas travel, accusing ministers of ‘shifting targets’ and lacking transparency on decisions on overseas travel. safe destinations.
The UK was being left behind in Europe and was rejecting the success of its coronavirus vaccination program, they said, warning that another summer lost would have “serious consequences” for the industry.
Bosses of easyJet, British Airways, Ryanair, Jet2, Tui UK and others wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to express dismay at ministers ‘comments suggesting travel was unsafe, urging the government to’ s ‘Stick to the framework’ of the traffic light system instead of telling people not to visit Amber List countries.
The letter says: “The government now appears unwilling to have a significant reboot in international travel this summer, and it is impossible for businesses or consumers to plan in this scenario, so we are really concerned that some UK businesses will fail.”
Speaking earlier, easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said there was no transparency on the parameters of the green list, compared to other European countries: “The government has made it a green list. guessing game, not driven by data and science. This made planning extremely difficult for the operators. “
He contrasted this with conversations with European governments: “How do we get there? This is the attitude I see there.
The confusion was exacerbated by Foreign Office advice that was not aligned with the traffic light system, travel agencies said. Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy said it was frustrating: “Having two separate lists is totally confusing… we have to make decisions based on conflicting information.
“If one department in my company said one thing and another said another, I would bring them into my office and hit my head together – and that’s what has to happen. It’s simple – customers want to know: can I travel or can’t I travel? And give me an answer.
Andrew Flintham, managing director of Tui UK, said many customers had “been caught in moral confusion as to whether or not you should leave”. He added: “If you compare that with our activities in the Netherlands, Belgium or Germany, the Europeans look at us slightly in disbelief – we have such a strong position, the best immunization program and are not getting any benefit from it. “
Lundgren played down fears of the spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19, preventing vacationers from going abroad this summer, saying the evidence was that the vaccines were effective enough.
However, he said: “I don’t think UK aviation as an industry can go through another lost summer without serious consequences. In this case, the government must be ready and ready to intervene – it is its restrictions that have made it impossible for players in this industry to function.
The government said it would review the countries on the green list and the traffic light system on June 7, three weeks after international pleasure travel was legalized.