Airports call for urgent Regional Travel Corridors

Monday 27 July 2020

The Airport Operators Association has today called for the Government to take immediate action to exclude the Balearic and Canary Islands from the 14-day quarantine for all passengers returning from Spain introduced on Sunday.

The trade body has revealed that flights to the Spanish Islands traditionally account for 15% of all flights leaving UK airports in August with just under 2.4 million people flying to the Spanish Islands in August 2019.

The figures also show that regional airports will be particularly hard hit with flights to the Spanish islands from outside of London making up 27% of all flights in August 2019.

Alongside this, the AOA has called for the Government to drop their blanket quarantine policy and move to a risk-based approach that allows travel to safe destinations such as Lanzarote, Majorca and Ibiza.

Commenting, Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the AOA said

It is of course right that public health concerns remain at the forefront of the Government’s response to COVID-19, but the re-introduction of a blanket quarantine measure that covers the Balearic and Canary Islands is the wrong approach and risks further damaging the fragile re-start of the aviation sector. 

“The Government must look urgently at introducing air bridges on a regional basis which would allow travel to islands such as Lanzarote, Majorca and Tenerife, where infection rates are lower, to continue. Nationally flights to these islands are 15% of all flights in August and 27% outside of London and by cutting passengers off from these islands, the Government risks cutting off airport’s recovery, before it has even begun. 

“UK airports have already lost around £2 billion since the start of the pandemic and this announcement reinforces the fragile nature of the industry and the urgent need for the Government to provide support for our beleaguered airports as we continue to face pressures unimaginable only six months ago. 

“The Government has acted with urgency to re-introduce quarantine measures for Spain based on public health concerns, but we must not allow this to usher in a return to an illogical, ill-conceived and misguided policy. They must act with the same urgency to exempt those islands where a quarantine is wholly unnecessary.”