‘Clock Is Ticking’ To Open Up Air Travel Says EasyJet Boss Johan Lundgren

Most of Europe should be cleared for take-off under the government’s planned easing of aviation restrictions, says EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren.

A list of permitted destinations has yet to be published, before possibly relaxing travel curbs next month under the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Mr. Lundgren told that the “clock is ticking” and airlines need clarity.

He has cited research that means mass visit many popular holiday destinations would have limited risk.

It is expected the govt will use a traffic signal system to rank countries with high vaccination rates and other data, showing which are suitable for travel.

In a speech afterward Friday, Mr. Lundgren will detail research commissioned from epidemiologists at Yale University’s school of public health indicating that unrestricted visits to a number of the foremost popular holiday destinations would increase hospital admissions by 4%.

He will say the research suggested that much of Europe, including Spain, Portugal, and Greece, should be categorized as “green” under the traffic signal system.

“EasyJet believes that a green country should be one where unrestricted travel doesn’t pose a risk to the NHS or the success of the vaccination program,” Mr. Lundgren will say.

“On this basis, EasyJet believes that much of Europe should be classed as green on the government’s framework.

“This is because vaccination is a game changer – the success of the UK vaccine rollout has broken the link between cases and hospitalization and by May and June we expect things to progressively improve because vaccination rates.”

Mr. Lundgren also will say the govt “urgently needs” to publish both the parameters for every tier and therefore the country list so consumers get clarity on where they will travel.

“As the remainder of the economy emerges from this lockdown with some precautions in the situation, there’s no reason why an equivalent isn’t possible for travel.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is due to chair a gathering of G7 transport ministers next week to debate vaccine passports before announcing which countries are going to be hospitable Britons. Under the roadmap, the UK government has suggested travel restrictions could be eased from 17 May.

Mr. Lundgren said that Today program that his airline was “flight-ready” for the mass resumption of services once it gets clarity over which destinations it can fly to.

EasyJet, along with other operators and tour firms, says there is huge pent-up demand for foreign holidays. Mr. Lundgren said summer bookings are strong, but there has been a spike in people pushing back holidays to autumn.

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