UK Travel For The Summer: How Will The Traffic Light System Work?

Photo: East Midlands Airport.

LONDON – Following the UK Transport Secretary’s announcement this morning where he is not advising against booking international holidays, this article will look at the guidance published by the government regarding the long-awaited traffic light system.

This has been mostly welcomed by those in the industry, with Mr. Shapps backing international travel upon the release of this system:

“International travel is vital – it boosts businesses and underpins the UK economy – but more than that, it brings people together, connects families who have been kept apart, and allows us to explore new horizons.”

“The framework announced today will help allow us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure we protect our hard-won achievements on the vaccine roll out, and offer peace of mind to both passengers and industry as we begin to take trips abroad once again.”

UK Transport Secretary – Grant Shapps

As we know, the traffic light system will work via the green, amber and red set-up, with the government outlining what this will entail below:

  • Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into the UK – but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday
  • Amber: arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early
  • Red: arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for ‘red list’ countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing, and PCR testing on day 2 and 8

As mentioned in a previous article released by AviationSource this morning, the steps taken include the removal of the permission to travel form, which means that passengers will not have to prove a valid reason for leaving the country.

The Government also reiterated that those departing from a red-listed country must purchase a quarantine package before departure, with arrivals from amber and green countries to book test packages before travelling.

Photo: Heathrow Airport

Such allocation of red, amber and green is to be kept under constant review, but gave no indication into how frequent this will be. DfT also stated that restrictions will be formally reviewed next on June 28, before further reviews occurring on July 31 and October 1.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has also mentioned that it will be playing “a leading role in the development of international standards around a digital travel certification system”.

It also appears that the DfT will be strict on airlines entering the UK when it comes to following COVID guidelines, as stated on the website:

“To further boost consumer confidence, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will be given additional enforcement powers to act on airlines that have breached consumer rights – with a dedicated consultation on how to use additional tools to enforce consumer rights expected later this year.”

“A COVID-19 charter will also be introduced from 17 May 2021, clearly setting out what is required of passengers and what their rights are while measures remain in place.”

What remains clear is that the UK Government is now doing something. Whilst some may not think its entirely perfect, it is something that can always change and such action is laying out the foundations to getting back into the skies.

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