Britain is considering easing travel rules for double vaccinated people, a move that would placate airlines which have launched legal action against the government’s curbs on trips abroad.
Airlines are desperate for restrictions to be relaxed in time for July and the peak season when they make most profits, while Britain has for now stuck to quarantine rules that deter travel.
Europe’s biggest airline Ryanair teamed up with Manchester Airports Group (MAG) to launch legal action against Britain over its travel policy. Other airlines could join.
The pair filed papers for judicial review at England’s High Court at about 1200 GMT on Thursday, a spokesman for MAG said.
But Britain has indicated a possible relaxation, with the Department for Transport saying on Thursday it was considering how vaccinations could be used for inbound travel.
More than half of British adults have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, putting it far ahead of Europe.
The Daily Telegraph reported Britain was looking to follow the European Union’s move to allow fully vaccinated tourists to avoid COVID-19 tests and quarantine from July.
“We have commenced work to consider the role of vaccinations in shaping a different set of health and testing measures for inbound travel,” a government spokesperson said on Thursday.
Shares in airline stocks jumped on hopes of rule changes. Ryanair and British Airways-owned IAG were up 3%, while easyJet and holiday group TUI were 4% higher. Jet2 rose 5%.
Peel Hunt analyst Alex Paterson said the government’s more open minded approach represented progress for an industry which has endured more than 15 months of depressed revenues.
“From the point of view of sentiment that they’re saying they’re going to look at this, that is good news,” he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the federal government would be keeping a close watch on the rates of serious illness in coming months.
“We will see over the course of this summer in Europe, where a lot of people will be moving around under those new arrangements, and we’ll be able to see what the impact of that is,” he told Sky News.
Do you think Australia will follow suit and open its borders sooner than the planned “mid-2022” date? Do you think Australia will become a hermit nation if it doesn’t get the ball rolling soon? Let us know – email [email protected]
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