Airport Operators Association response to Home Secretary Chinese visas announcement

Responding to today’s announcement by the Home Secretary that in future Chinese tour groups will be exempted from the need to purchase a transit visa for travel through a UK airport to a Schengen country, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), the trade body for UK airports, said:

  • “We welcome the Home Secretary’s announcement that Chinese tour groups travelling through a UK airport to a Schengen country will no longer require a transit visa.
  • “Airports, working together with business and travel groups, have long argued that the UK’s transit visa regime – which puts us at a competitive disadvantage compared to other Schengen countries – is in urgent need of reform.
  • “This is a positive step from the Government, and follows other welcome recent announcements on visa liberalisation. However, we should not lose sight of the fact that citizens of only one country, Nigeria, are required to purchase a transit visa when travelling through an airport in the Schengen area, whereas the UK requires citizens from countries as diverse as China, India, South Africa, Nigeria and Vietnam to do likewise. So we urge the Government to study closely the impact of the change announced today, when it is introduced, with a view to going further and faster on reform in future.”