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Published on Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Lobby group says air bridges could be in place from end of June


Industry lobby group Quash Quarantine says it has received private assurance from the Government that quarantine-free travel will be available between the UK and several other countries from the end of the month.

The group, which is made up of around 500 travel and hospitality companies, indicated it could pause its threatened legal action against the Government if this is confirmed.

Government sources have allegedly indicated that 'air bridges' to countries with a low level of Covid-19 cases will be in place by June 29, when ministers are due to review the success or otherwise of the mandatory quarantine for virtually all new arrivals, which came into effect yesterday.

Quash Quarantine member George Morgan-Grenfel, founder of Red Savannah, said: "The Quash Quarantine group, has received private assurances from senior Government sources that travel corridors will be in place from 29 June.

"We urge the government to signal to the travel industry publicly and urgently that this is the case, as well as amend FCO advice on non-essential travel.

"We are still considering our options regarding legal action, including whether to join BA's claim or launch our own action, but would prefer that 29th June is confirmed as soon as possible for the start of travel corridors.

"The industry needs urgent visibility on a timetable for travel to begin again."

However, the quarantine is still facing a legal challenge from airlines, British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.

Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Australia are believed to be likely countries for the first air bridges with the UK.

Commenting on the introduction of air corridors, Kane Pirie, VIVID Travel founder and managing director, said: "We welcome the change of mood in Government who are at last cognisant that closing down the industry will destroy businesses and jobs," but he said it would be 'sickening' if travel was only allowed to destinations dominated by a number of large operators, such as TUI and two or three large online travel agents, rather than opening up the market to all countries where it's safe to visit at the same time. "Let's see some fair play and the voice of smaller travel companies also being heard," said Pirie.

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