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Bosses of airlines and vacation companies have teamed up to attack the government’s “utterly confusing” advice on overseas travel, accusing ministers of “shifting targets” and lacking transparency on decisions about travel. safe destinations, reports our transport correspondent Gwyn Topham.
The UK was being left behind in Europe and was rejecting the success of its vaccination program, they said, warning that another summer lost would have “serious consequences” for the industry.
Bosses of EasyJet, British Airways, Ryanair, Jet2, TUI UK and others wrote to the Prime Minister expressing “dismay” at ministers’ comments suggesting travel was unsafe, urging the government to “Stick to the frame” of the traffic. lightweight system, instead of telling people not to visit Amber List countries.
The letter says: “The government now appears unwilling to have a significant reboot in international travel this summer, and it is impossible for businesses or consumers to plan in this scenario, so we are really concerned that some UK businesses will fail.”
Speaking earlier, EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said there was no transparency on the parameters of the green list, compared to other European countries: “The government made it a guessing game, not driven by data and science. This made planning extremely difficult for the operators. “
The confusion was exacerbated by Foreign Office advice that was not aligned with the traffic light system, travel agencies said. The general manager of Jet 2 Holidays. Steve Heapy said it was frustrating: “Having two separate lists is totally confusing… we have to make decisions based on conflicting information.
“If one department in my company said one thing and another said another, I would bring them into my office and hit my head together – and that’s what has to happen. It’s simple: customers want to know if I can travel or I cannot travel and give me an answer. “
Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK, said many customers had “been caught in moral confusion as to whether or not you should leave”. He added: “If you compare that with our Dutch, Belgian or German activities, the Europeans look at us slightly in disbelief – why do you have such a strong position, the best vaccination program and not take advantage of it.”
The government said it would review both green list countries and the traffic light system on June 7, three weeks after international pleasure travel was legalized.