Aer Lingus owner calls on UK government to be ‘ambitious’ on travel corridors

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Aer Lingus Owner Calls On Uk Government To Be ‘Ambitious’ On Travel Corridors
The chief executive of IAG, which owns Aer Lingus and British Airways, is calling on the UK government to establish travel corridors to aid the resumption of international travel. Photo credit: PETER MUHLY/AFP via Getty Images
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Simon Neville, PA City Editor

The UK government must act with ambition and announce travel corridors as soon as possible to help the travel industry revive, according to the chief executive of Aer Lingus owner, IAG.

Luis Gallego added: “We consider now is the time to start travelling again.

“We believe that the government needs to be a bit ambitious in getting global travel back on track and bring the benefits of all the efforts that the government and people have done with the vaccination rollout.

“I think they need to recognise that people who are vaccinated or have been tested can travel without restrictions.”

His comments come as the business revealed it continued to rack up huge losses in the first three months of the year.

Bosses at the airline, which also owns British Airways and Iberia, said the firm sunk to a pre-tax loss of €1.22 billion in the first quarter of the year.

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Passenger numbers remain at record low levels due to the pandemic, at just 19.6 per cent of the pre-Covid levels in 2019 and the second quarter of the year is at just 25 per cent due to continued uncertainty.

 

IAG remains financially stable, bosses added, with a new €1.2 billion bond heavily oversubscribed and a new three-year $1.76 billion (€1.46 billion) credit facility agreed with lenders but future cash raises could be needed.

Cargo-only flights increased from 969 in the final quarter of 2020 to 1,306 in the first three months of the year.

Mr Gallego added: “We’re ready to fly, but government action is needed through four key measures:

“Travel corridors without restrictions between countries with successful vaccination rollouts and effective testing such us the UK and the US.

“Affordable, simple and proportionate testing to replace quarantine and costly, multi-layered testing.

“Well-staffed borders using contactless technology including e-gates to ensure a safe, smooth flow of people and frictionless travel.

“Digital passes for testing and vaccination documentation to facilitate international travel.”

Current Covid rules in England say that non-essential travel can resume on May 17th and an announcement on international travel is expected within days.

As part of the last announcement on the easing of restrictions in the Republic of Ireland, the Government indicated measures for the resumption of non-essential international travel would be considered at the end of June.

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