NEWS: First potential air bridge countries revealed and scheme for UK airport testing could end quarantine

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First potential air bridge countries revealed

The government has been heavily criticised for its introduction of a 14 days quarantine for all arrivals into the UK some 3 months into the current crisis. The travel industry has condemned the move as the final nail in the coffin for the already beleaguered airlines and holiday companies.

The quarantine requirement was introduced on the 8 June and is due to stay until at least 29 June when the first review will take place. In the meantime, there are some glimmers of hope. The government has openly said it plans to agree “air bridges” with low-risk countries, where quarantine will not be required at either end of the journey.

It has now been revealed which countries are currently or due to be in discussions with the UK government. Most people are likely to want to travel to Europe first, partly due to the requirements to wear a mask for the entire journey. You can read my thoughts on this in my current Forbes article here:

PPE, Face Masks, And No Alcohol. Is Passenger Safety Putting Flyers Off?

The travel industry has been one of the worst-hit by the coronavirus. Airlines have even grounded entire fleets in some cases. Now that travel is beginning to recover as borders reopen, how will airlines tempt people back? Airlines feel that they need to convince people that travel is safe again.

UK officials are trying to establish air bridges with the following countries:

  • Portugal
  • France
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Spain

An announcement is expected on 29 June if these talks have been successful although it is likely to take at least a week before the quarantine is removed between countries. Reviews of quarantine will take place every three weeks. 


Scheme for UK airport testing could end quarantine

Travel companies have been calling on the government to find a less blunt instrument than quarantine to allow travel to resume to and from the UK. Swissport and the medical branch of travel company Collinson, are now planning a trial for passengers arriving at UK airports to have the same type of saliva swab test used by the NHS to screen for the coronavirus. The idea would be that if the passenger tested negative they would be allowed to stop the 14-day travel quarantine on receipt of the test result. The trial is due to start at a major UK airport in a couple of weeks. 

It would not be free and at around £140 a test, it is more than the average traveller is likely to want to pay. However, for business travellers, companies may well be willing to pay the price for important travel. The tests have to be booked online before travel. The passenger would follow the current procedure filling out details for quarantine. They then visit a travel clinic for the test and receive the result within 24 hours, but with the possibility to have results in as little as 5 hours. The PCR swab test being used is the type used by NHS facilities in the UK.

Would you pay £140 to have a test on return to the UK so you did not have to quarantine for more than 24 hours? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

HT: BBC News








13 Comments on "NEWS: First potential air bridge countries revealed and scheme for UK airport testing could end quarantine"

  1. Yes. I would pay the 140 pounds if it means no 14 day guarantine on arrival into the UK. And this is from, a tourist heading into the UK and not a UK resident/national returning back. So a tourist willing to pay 140 pounds to go to the UK to spend further money which shall help pick up the UK economy.
    Win for the UK govt initiative if implemented? I think so.

  2. Elizabeth Forrest | 20 June 2020 at 5:15 pm |

    I would not mind paying £140 when returning to the UK, it helps me not having to take another 2 weeks holidays !

  3. Can I pay £70 and just do a week?


  4. Andrew Franklin | 21 June 2020 at 6:38 am |

    Not a CHANCE i would pay this. It would eventually become another permanent govt. tax in order to fleece the tax payer, so no!!

  5. Angela Teevin-Schweiss | 21 June 2020 at 7:14 am |

    No idea why Germany is not on this list! Our rates of infection are low and we are already not quarantining British arrivals. Really hope my family can come over to visit me from Scotland in July – the government forgets that its not just about “holidays”, but also about allowing families to see each other!

    • That’s very true. Hopefully that will be next. Personally I think they should have just done the whole EU rather than country by country

  6. If air bridges are approved and we are given the opportunity to travel to certain countries, will the FO lift the ban on travel except for essential reasons advice, so travel insurance is valid?

    • I’m 99% sure that will be the case. I suspect it will go back to being country specific.

    • This is ridiculous ? again another excuse to recollect money! It’s not just these countries we want to go anyway. Stop all this.

  7. I wouldn’t pay anything. If flying is not safe – then we shouldn’t fly at all and only essential trips should be allowed. Most people travel for holidays and weekend breaks – while its very nice indeed – its not a must. Personally I can’t see the point to push myself in a position when I will not enjoy the trip itself ( due to lack of service and proper food and drinks ) and in the end pay extra £140. Crazy

  8. Very unlikely. Will do some european travel but otherwise will wait until services are back nearer to normal for club class so as to enjoy flying again!

  9. I doubt I would pay, but largely because I’m retired so spending two weeks at home isn’t really a problem.
    However if I could pay for a test 24 hours before flying…so I don’t have to wear a mask on the plane, that I would consider!

  10. Have already done it twice as my children live in Germany and not seeing them wasnt an option so I just paid for the private test

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