Henry Smith MP has spoken in the House of Commons (on Monday, 20th September) to welcome the new and simplified Covid-19 travel regime for arrivals into England, and has also welcomed the announcement from the US Government that vaccinated passengers from the UK and other nations will soon be able to enter the United States.
Commenting after speaking in the House of Commons, Henry said;
“After much lobbying I welcome last week’s announcement from the Government that the testing requirements for international arrivals who are vaccinated against Covid-19 will be relaxed, as well as the reform to the existing traffic light system which will make it much easier for people when looking to travel internationally.
“This will come as a welcome boost not just for people looking to go on holiday or visit family members, but to the Crawley and Gatwick aviation sector and the many thousands of people who work in the wider aviation, travel and tourism industries as well.
“I also welcome confirmation from across the Atlantic that vaccinated Britons will soon be able to travel to the United States once again. This is an important step forward in the recovery of the aviation industry and I’m grateful to Government for listening to the calls made by myself and other MPs to get UK-US travel up and running again.”
It was announced yesterday that the changes to the rules on travel to the US from the UK are to come into effect from early November.
This follows the UK Government’s announcement last week that from Monday 4th October, the existing traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries and territories, and that testing requirements will also be reduced for eligible fully vaccinated travellers, who will no longer need to take a pre-departure test when travelling to England.
These announcements followed continued representations made by Crawley MP Henry Smith, who is also Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Henry Smith MP asked the Secretary of State for Transport;
“I very much welcome this statement, with a pragmatic approach to covid-19 testing for international travel and recognition of vaccines, and also, on the day that the Prime Minister is in New York, the news that the US Administration—this has taken a lot of work from the US-UK taskforce to achieve—are opening up to fully vaccinated passengers.
“Can my right hon. Friend say when slot allocations will be reviewed, particularly with a view to the spring and summer season next year?”
The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, responded;
“I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his work on the Future of Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group, which has not gone unnoticed by Ministers throughout the difficult 18 months.
“He is right about the sensitivities of things such as slot allocations. It is quite a technical issue to do both with the way that allocations at busy airports are granted and—I suspect he is getting at this—with something called the 80:20 and 50:50 rules, which are about the amount of usage on allocations.
“He will know, because he has a major airport in his constituency, that there is a difference of opinion, quite rightly, between the airport operators and the aviation companies—the airlines themselves—about where the correct balance should lie.
“The Aviation Minister, the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Robert Courts), who is sitting right next to me, is keeping these matters under constant review and is doing an excellent job with it, and I invite the two of them to have a meet-up.”