Airports fighting to survive as Covid quarantine plan adds to gloom

Airlines and airports are demanding that the government’s controversial quarantine regime be reviewed after a short period of time in order to prevent the collapse of the travel and tourism industries.

Regional airports, including Birmingham and East Midlands, have been hit hard by the vacation ban and all-but-essential travel, as passenger traffic has declined by more than 90 percent year over year.

Smaller hubs claim they are facing financial disaster because the government announced quarantine hotels for international arrivals.

16 hotels are dedicated to isolating travelers, including a hotel near Birmingham Airport.

However, smaller airports described the plan as “a hammer blow that seriously limits their ability to serve international travelers”.

Andrew Bell, CEO of Regional and city airports – which owns and operates Coventry, Bournemouth, Exeter and Norwich – asked for more assistance.

He told a national newspaper: “Regional airports in particular are struggling to survive with almost zero income and a high cost base.

“Aviation-specific funding is urgently needed to ensure we can get through the year and at least an extension of the vacation into the fall to ensure we are still at the end of the pandemic.”

Its reputation has been endorsed by travel industry leaders.

Karen Dee of the Airport Operators Association and Tim Alderslade of Airlines UK said, “While public health must come first, this latest move means that all travelers in the UK will have to conduct three tests in addition to quarantine.

“A two-week review clause is important to ensure that what is currently complex, comprehensive measures are rolled back as soon as it is safe to do so. International travel must also be part of the Prime Minister’s upcoming roadmap, including transparent and risk-based health criteria for lifting travel restrictions.

“In the meantime, airports and airlines are struggling to survive with almost zero revenue and a huge cost base, and another blow hits practically every week.

“Aerospace funding is urgently needed to ensure our sector can survive the year.”

A spokesman for Birmingham Airport previously announced that the pandemic had caused the worst downturn in its history.

Current national restrictions have resulted in a massive drop in traffic. Last month, passengers were down 95.6 percent compared to January 2020.

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