The government should consider mandatory tests for COVID-19 before passengers board aircraft as part of measures to lift the travel lockdown, the head of Britain’s second busiest airport has said.
Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, also called for passengers to be required to carry ‘health passports’ to prove they are clear of the virus and wear face covers on flights.
Wingate told The Times ministers are considering whether tests, if required, should be carried out at airports or in communities. “For example, would it be better for a passenger to arrive at airport with some sort of certification that said ‘I have been checked over the last 48 hours and I am COVID-free’?”, he said.
Travelers should also be required to carry ‘health passports’ to prove they are clear of coronavirus and wear face covers on flights.
Wingate added: “Passengers increasingly are travelling wearing facial coverings and I am sure that’s something that the government team will be considering.”
The proposals to get Britain’s skies moving again come as the Department for Transport considers proposals that would allow people to take their summer holidays. It has set up a working group with the aviation industry to discuss how to allow global travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps that measures to screen passengers arriving at UK airports will remain “under review”.
The European Union may also be considering post-pandemic travel restrictions.
Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis has said tourists will still be able to take summer holidays in the country providing the 27 members agree specific protocols for international travel.
The holiday season could resume in July and continue until October or November, he told the BBC.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has indicated the bloc will find ‘smart solutions’ to allow summer holidays.
She told Portuguese publication Expresso Sunday vacations may be a “little different, with other hygiene measures, with a little more social distance,” but that solutions will be found.
She has previously warned in an interview with German newspaper Bild that it was hard to make reliable forecasts for holidays in July and August.