Covid: ‘Urgent’ aviation support plea over travel curbs

The UK’s aviation sector “urgently” needs more government support if it is to survive another long period of travel curbs, industry groups say.

From Monday, all travel corridors to the UK will be closed to prevent the arrival of any new variants of Covid.

Airport operators said the move was understandable, but warned that it would deepen the crisis for the sector.

The government has insisted it is committed to supporting the travel and tourism industry.

But the Airport Operators Association warned there was “only so long” before airports might have to close temporarily to save costs.

Meanwhile, the British Airline Pilots’ Association called the travel corridor closure “yet another huge blow”, and warned that the UK aviation industry would “not be there to support the post Covid-19 recovery” without “a clear plan of action and a proper package of support”.

Under the new rules, anyone flying into the country from overseas will have to show proof of a negative Covid test before setting off.

All travel corridors will close from 04:00 GMT on Monday. After that, arrivals to the UK will need to quarantine for up to 10 days, unless they test negative after five days.

The new measures were announced as a ban on travellers from South America and Portugal came into force on Friday – over concerns about a new variant identified in Brazil.

At a Downing Street news conference on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would close all travel corridors to “protect against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains” of Covid.

The new rules will be in place until at least 15 February, he said.

According to the latest data, another 1,280 people with Covid have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive test, and another 55,761 new cases have been reported.