Sat, 24 Jul 2021

LONDON, England: Britain's airlines and holiday and tour companies are planning a "day of action" on Wednesday, in a bid to increase pressure on the government to reduce Covid travel restrictions, as the nation is only weeks away from the start of the summer travel season.

On Wednesday, June 23, plans call for airline pilots, cabin crews and travel agents to gather at Westminster, in central London, and at airports across Britain to protest the ongoing shutdowns.

Due to travel restrictions remaining in place, it looks increasingly likely that the travel industry will miss the critical summer travel season.

To try and move towards opening borders, Europe's largest airline, Ryanair, and Manchester Airports Group appealed to the courts on Thursday to try to force the government to ease travel rules.

According to the pilots trade union, Britain's aviation industry has lost more money during the pandemic than has the European travel industry.

Just published data by the union indicated that arrivals and departures into the United Kingdom were down 73 percent compared to before the pandemic, the largest drop among European countries.

Also, traffic in and out of London's Gatwick Airport is down 92 percent, according to the data.

For its part, the government says it has to balance the risks of foreign holidays bringing new variants of the virus into Britain, according to justice minister Robert Buckland, as quoted by the BBC.

Further, Public Health England official Susan Hopkins said the public should largely holiday in the UK this summer, as the population continues being vaccinated.

However, union officials warn that time is running out.

"There is no time to hide behind task forces and reviews," said BALPA pilots union general secretary Brian Strutton.

"BALPA is demanding that the UK Government gets its act together and opens the U.S. routes and European holiday travel destinations that it has blocked with no published evidence at all," he added.

Within the UK, 45,000 jobs have already been lost in the aviation industry, with as many as 860,000 aviation, travel and tourism jobs being sustained by government furlough schemes.

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