This is great news not just for Gatwick, but also for our airlines and our passengers - Gatwick Airport's Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Pollard
We had some good news last week when the Secretary of State for Transport – Grant Shapps – announced that from 19 July, those who have received both doses of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination (plus 14 days) will no longer need to quarantine when returning to England from countries on the ‘amber’ list. In addition, the Government’s recommendation for people not to travel to amber countries will also be removed from 19 July.
This news marks a welcome next step in the reopening of international travel for those who want to take a break, visit family and friends or reconnect for business.
Passengers will still need to take a pre-departure test before returning to the UK and book a Day 2 PCR test for when they return, but these new measures effectively place ‘amber’ countries on a par with ‘green’ destinations for those who have been double jabbed.
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As it stands, popular summer destinations such as Greece, Spain, France and Portugal, will become more accessible. This is great news not just for Gatwick, but also for our airlines and our passengers and will help get people back to work again.
In fact, this month Gatwick passengers can travel to 115 destinations in 37 countries without having to quarantine on return. In August, that jumps to 131 destinations in 42 countries, so there’s no shortage of options.
We understand that travel is still not ‘hassle free’ but we are continuing to work with Government and urging them to address this before the summer holiday period, which is so crucial for the aviation and travel industries – something Crawley and our local area relies so heavily upon. My advice is that people should continue to check the Governments FCDO travel advice before travelling.
We are also urging Government to follow the lead of EU countries to ensure that internationally agreed, coordinated protocols are in place so that processes when crossing borders to other countries are as smooth as possible, with no unnecessary queues, checks or costs.
If you do decide to take advantage of the new rules and book a last-minute summer holiday, we hope you’ll find the airport experience a pleasant one. Since last year, we have put numerous measures in place to make Gatwick a safe and welcoming environment, including plenty of hand sanitiser stations, systems within our security areas to ensure people aren’t crowding together and even some high-tech UV-lighting which has a 99.9% microbe disinfection rate – protecting passengers and staff and reducing the spread of coronaviruses, including COVID-19, and other infections on this high-touch surface area.
Otherwise, you’ll enjoy a pretty normal experience at the airport, especially now many of our shops and restaurants are open, or are planning to reopen within coming weeks.
Already following last week’s news, we’ve seen our airlines begin to add flights to a range of European hotspots from late July.
I hope that for those who can and do decide to head abroad this summer, you have a wonderful, relaxing time with loved ones and manage to find some sun somewhere!