Ministers are jeopardising the entire summer holiday season by dragging their heels over ‘air bridges’, aviation bosses warned last night.
Air bridges are agreements between two countries to allow people to travel without the need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
But a senior aviation insider involved in talks with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst last Thursday accused the Government of failing to move quickly enough.
The insider said airline bosses were left ‘frustrated’ that Ministers gave no details about their plans and that Ms Patel showed a ‘lack of clarity’.
A drone photo shows an aerial view of Ilica beach as people enjoy their time in Cesme during the first weekend without coronavirus restrictions since 10th April
The Government’s quarantine rules will be reviewed on June 29.
But the source said airlines need an answer on whether Britons will be able to fly to countries with low Covid-19 infection rates ‘in the next few days’.
The source said: ‘If the Government wants connectivity this summer, we can’t wait until the review.
That’s far too late.
‘If we get to that point and we still have no detail, there is a risk the whole summer season will be under threat, and airlines will have to make even deeper cuts.’
This weekend, Airlines UK, which represents the industry, wrote to Ms Patel asking her to accelerate plans for air bridges.
They want her to confirm what criteria countries must meet to be included and when the Home Office will give a starting date.
Airlines have slashed routes and thousands of jobs.
Derek Provan, chief executive of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said the blanket quarantine ban would ‘stifle’ economic recovery.
‘It will further damage our aviation, Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality sectors, which support hundreds of thousands of jobs,’ he added.