Luton Airport joins 'Travel Day of Action' protest calling on government to reopen travel

Luton Airport has joined thousands of travel agents, pilots, tour operators and cabin crew in a government demonstration.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 4:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 4:06 pm
The Travel Day of Action protest outside Westminster today
The Travel Day of Action protest outside Westminster today

Workers from the airport took part in the 'Travel Day of Action' protest outside Westminster earlier today - calling for the safe reintroduction of travel, as well as financial support for the industry.

The Government is expected to provide an update on the traffic light list within the next week.

A review of the requirements for international travel is also due on Monday, June 28..

To demonstrate their support for the Travel Day of Action, employees from businesses across Luton Airport gathered to show their backing for the campaign.

Alberto Martin, chief executive of London Luton Airport, said: “The Government needs to do more to support the aviation industry and the people who depend on it. We are yet to see a meaningful restart to international travel, which is especially worrying as we approach what would have been the peak summer season.

“Whilst we understand the cautious approach taken by the Government, it is not in line with the recommendations put forward by the Global Travel Taskforce to allow the safe and gradual restart of overseas travel.

"We would therefore urge them to re-consider this approach and acknowledge the massive impact this is having on both the travel industry and consumer confidence more broadly.”

As part of the Travel Day of Action, Luton Airport is joining calls asking the UK Government to:

> Allow international travel to return safely and in a risk managed way by implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a traffic-light system, by expanding the green list in line with evidence and making restrictions 'more proportionate', while keeping a strong red list to guard against variants. The Government should also capitalise on the success of the vaccine rollout by relaxing testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated individuals.

> Bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of furlough support, recognising that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.

The Travel Day of Action follows a challenging year for the airports and the travel industry, with data from the IATA showing that, of the 1.6m jobs in aviation, travel and tourism pre-pandemic, 860,000 have either already disappeared or are sustained only by government furlough.

The industry bodies behind today’s effort includes the Airport Operators Association, ABTA, Airlines UK, trade unions, and UKinbound.

Airport Operators Association Chief Executive Karen Dee said: “The Government’s overly cautious approach to reopening travel has real-world consequences for the 1.6m jobs in the UK aviation and tourism industries that rely on aviation having a meaningful restart.

“Unless the Government makes a meaningful restart of aviation possible by extending the green list at the next review, moving to rapid and affordable tests for returning travellers and following the examples of the EU and the US by reducing restrictions on fully vaccinated passengers, aviation and travel are in for an extremely difficult summer.

“If the Government decides it cannot reopen travel more meaningfully, then they should stand ready to give substantial financial compensation to airports and others in aviation and tourism.

“Jobs and livelihoods in businesses across the economy that need air connectivity for their success are at risk. The Government cannot afford to let those go.”