The CEO of London City airport has urged the newly formed Global Travel Taskforce to move quickly to set out “a clear roadmap for the introduction of a testing regime which would ultimately lead to the elimination of quarantine”.
The taskforce was launched last week, and among other measures it will consider the feasibility of arrivals into the UK taking a single test taken after a period of self-isolation.
With a large portion of London City’s passenger traffic coming from corporate travel, CEO Robert Sinclair said that the taskforce could give business air travel “a much needed shot in the arm”.
“The UK aviation industry is the third largest in the world and a global success story,” said Sinclair.
“But it is not just an industry itself, it also acts as an enabler of other industries such as trade, tourism, hospitality, imports, exports and conferences. We know the demand for air travel is there, but restrictive quarantine measures are currently holding business leaders back from flying, and the UK economy from beginning its recovery.
“We sincerely hope that the Global Travel Taskforce both acknowledges how fundamental business travel is and moves quickly to introduce a roadmap for aviation which sets out how a testing regime can be implemented quickly. Doing so could deliver a much-needed shot in the arm for business air travel, boosting economic growth across every region and every sector.”
London City reopened in late June following a three-month closure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and has gradually been restoring routes including BA Cityflyer services to Zurich last week.
But the airport recently said that up to 240 jobs were at risk due to the fall in passenger numbers, and LCY is to pause its development programme at the end of the year, warning that “it has become clearer that the recovery to previous levels will take longer than initially expected”.
Sinclair’s comments came as a poll of over 500 business leaders shows that nearly half (48 per cent) believe that the government’s travel and quarantine restrictions were “the single biggest barrier to business air travel”.
Three quarters (76 per cent) of respondents in the Survation poill said that airport testing would increase confidence when travelling.
The survey is part of a new report by WPI Strategy detailing the importance of domestic aviation to the UK economy.
The report said that the value of domestic aviation in the UK pre Covid-19 was around £15 billion, with London accounting for £4 billion of the figure, Scotland another £4 billion, and Northern Ireland £2 billion.
Commenting on the report Warner Rootliep, managing director of KLM Cityhopper, said:
“KLM has a long standing commitment to serve the UK regions. We have rebuilt our regional presence in the UK over the last few months, reopening all routes. Connecting the UK regions to the world through our hub in AMS is of vital importance to the regional economy of these communities, especially in these challenging times.
“We hope the Taskforce will be able to define a roadmap that will allow us to eliminate the quarantine measures and reinstall travel confidence so that we can continue to rebuild our regional frequencies that is so vital for the regional economy.”