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UK airlines seek government aid after Omicron-led travel restrictions

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By Reuters
UK airlines seek government aid after Omicron-led travel restrictions
UK airlines seek government aid after Omicron-led travel restrictions   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

– Major British airlines on Monday called on the government to remove testing rules for vaccinated passengers and provide economic support for the battered sector, as new travel rules were imposed to fight off the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Britain currently requires all inbound travellers to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test and another test on arrival in England, despite their vaccination status, dealing a blow to airlines trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whilst we fully recognise the need to take steps to contain the initial impact of the Omicron variant, travel has been singled out with the introduction of disproportionate restrictions,” a letter addressed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

The letter said the government’s move to restrict travel was “haphazard and disproportionate” and disrupted Christmas for families and businesses alike.

The letter was signed by the chief executive officers of British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Loganair, Virgin Atlantic and Jet2.com, the managing director of TUI UK & Ireland, as well as trade body Airlines UK.

Last week, airport operator Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye called on the British government to reduce restrictions as soon as it was safe to do so, including allowing UK nationals arriving from red list countries to isolate at home.