Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has hailed the commitment of Crawley MP Henry Smith to the aviation sector in recognition of his work standing up for Crawley and Gatwick workers and businesses throughout the pandemic, saying that “virtually nobody in the House has done more… to promote the case of the hard-pressed aviation sector during the last two years of the crisis.”
The minister’s comments were made as Henry welcomed in the House of Commons (on Tuesday, 15th March) the Government’s announcement that the remaining Covid-19 international travel restrictions will be removed for all passengers from 4am on Friday, 18th March. This development comes ahead of the Easter holidays and the reopening of Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal on 27th March.
Commenting after speaking in the House of Commons, Henry said;
“I welcome the Government confirming that remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions – the Passenger Locator Form and tests for all arrivals – will end for travel to the UK from Friday.
“This is only possible due to our vaccine rollout. Britain is open for business and in time for the Easter holidays.
“I know that this will be a boost for the Crawley and Gatwick economy which has been hard-hit by the pandemic. In the House of Commons as Crawley MP and Chair of the Future of Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group I’ll continue to stand up for this sector and the local residents who work in it.
“This news is also welcome as next week, on 27th March, the long-awaited reopening of the South Terminal at Gatwick Airport will take place. This is a significant moment in our town’s recovery, more than two years after we entered lockdown.”
The Department for Transport have confirmed that from 4am on Friday 18th March, all Covid-19 travel restrictions will be lifted, including the Passenger Locator Form for arrivals into the UK, and all tests for passengers who do not qualify as vaccinated. This change removes the need for unvaccinated passengers to take a pre-departure test and a Day 2 post-arrival test.
This follows the success of the UK’s vaccine and booster rollout, with 86 per cent of the population having received a second dose and 67 per cent of the population with a booster or third dose.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Henry Smith MP asked the Secretary of State for Transport;
“May I express my gratitude to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for removing all Covid-19 international travel restrictions for those coming into the United Kingdom?
“Will he join me in welcoming the reopening of the South Terminal at Gatwick Airport on 27th March and the thousands of job vacancies now available and needing to be filled as we recover our industry and our economy?”
The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, responded;
“I do not think it is too much of an exaggeration to say that virtually nobody in the House has done more than my hon. Friend to promote the case of the hard-pressed aviation sector during the last two years of the crisis.
“It is great news that Gatwick’s South Terminal will reopen on 27th March; I very much hope to be there for that. I know that he shares my enthusiasm for all the work that carried on during the crisis to aim for jet zero, to help clean up the aviation sector and ensure that, by 2050, we have not only a booming British aviation sector but a cleaner one.”