• Quote: ‘Prospect of return of overseas flights will have given many people real hope for the summer ahead’

By Andrew Atkinson

There will be no international holidays from the UK until at least May 7 but hopes are increasing for a return to flights to Spain this summer.

The UK government’s Global Travel Taskforce will reconvene to issue a report by April 12, recommending how international trips can resume safely.

Thousands of people fly to and from Spain to Manchester airport annually. Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airports Group, said: “So much of our economy relies on global connectivity and reopening our borders will be key to getting our country back on its feet.

“Government statistics show the travel and tourism industry has been the hardest hit by the pandemic, with tens of thousands of jobs already lost and thousands more depending on the recovery of our sector.

“That is why we strongly welcome Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recognition that international travel is a key part of the Government’s road map and that overseas trips could resume in May if circumstances allow.

“That prospect will have given many people real hope for the summer ahead.”

The Global Travel Taskforce is vital for overseas travel ahead of April 12, so that people can start planning for the summer: “Despite this hugely important step in the right direction, we must not lose sight of the fact aviation will be one of the last sectors to reopen and our recovery from the biggest crisis we have ever faced will not happen overnight.

“Airports have suffered huge losses over the last year to stay open for emergencies, essential journeys and critical freight such as medical supplies and PPE,” he added.

At present there are over 30 flights departing and arriving at Manchester Airport each day, with over 2,000 passengers travelling.

Flying in and out of Terminal One, flights are bound for destinations, including Amsterdam, Doha, Addis Ababa, Belfast, Frankfurt and Abu Dhabi.

Many of these are hubs for onward connections. There are between 1,000 and 1,600 passengers flying out daily, with arrivals approximately 600 daily.

In February 2020, 80,000 passengers passed through the airport’s three terminals daily.

The aviation sector has been hit hard by Covid-19 under travel restrictions, testing and quarantine measures.

Manchester airport has cut staffing costs, resulting in pay cuts, furlough and redundancies. The airport is working from one terminal as it continues to operate for the ‘essential’ travellers and cargo still crossing borders.

PM Boris Johnson’s road map to recovery includes the resumption of international travel, which sparked a huge spike in bookings, reported by airlines including Jet2.com.

Domestic overnight stays and self-contained accommodation will be allowed no earlier than April 12, but non-essential international travel will remain banned until at least May 17, a date which will be subject to review.

Caption:

Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airports Group: So much of our economy relies on global connectivity and reopening borders.

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