Crawley MP leads call for risk-based approach to restart international travel

Crawley MP Henry Smith is leading a call for the Government to introduce a risk-based approach to the restart of international travel.

The Crawley MP, who is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation, has organised an open letter of more than 40 parliamentary colleagues to the Prime Minister to urge him to ensure that international travel can be safely reopened on 17th May.

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The risk-based approach would allow for travel to low-risk nations with minimal or no restrictions whilst providing flexibility for restrictions on those nations where there remains a high risk, including those with Covid-19 variants of concern.

Departures at Gatwick Airport

The letter also calls for the introduction of rapid testing for international arrivals where required and for any use of the ‘test to release’ policy to keep quarantine periods as low as possible. Alongside this, the parliamentarians have repeated the call for a recovery package for the aviation, travel and tourism industries.

Henry said: “Since last March, our aviation, travel and tourism industries have been amongst the worst affected by the pandemic with passenger numbers falling to historically low levels leading to devastating impacts which are being felt throughout the UK.

“We cannot begin our long road to recovery if we keep our skies shut throughout the summer months. The introduction of a risk-based approach to the restart of international travel provides the right balance between reopening travel and ensuring that we remain vigilant against Covid-19 variants of concern.

“A failure to build on the progress of our vaccination programme and back a risk-based reopening of international travel will be devastating not only to the businesses involved, but their employees, their communities and the UK economy as a whole.

“I urge the Government to back a risk-based approach to international travel and to put measures in place that allow our world class aviation, travel and tourism industries to begin to recover from the significant challenges that they continue to face and allow the safe resumption of international travel.”

The letter has been signed by former Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley, former Aviation Minister Paul Maynard and Chair of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee Huw Merriman.