Government uses new regional travel corridors to slap restrictions on SEVEN Greek islands 


Fury of airline bosses as Government uses new regional travel corridors to slap restrictions on SEVEN Greek islands

  • Grant Shapps said move to treat islands as separate would bring relief to travel
  • But no islands were made exempt from quarantine under the new rules 
  • The change has ruined the holidays of an estimated 70,000 Britons 

Airline bosses told of their fury last night after ministers unveiled plans for regional travel corridors – only to use the new rules to slap restrictions on seven Greek islands.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the long-awaited move to treat islands as separate to their mainland would bring much-needed relief to Britain’s travel sector.

But no islands were made exempt from quarantine under the new rules. Instead, the change has ruined the holidays of an estimated 70,000 Britons on Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos with restrictions from 4am tomorrow.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the long-awaited move to treat islands as separate to their mainland would bring much-needed relief to Britain’s travel sector

Limited flight schedules mean many will not be able to return in time. Insiders say it is likely more islands will be added to the quarantine list after Thursday’s weekly review – but none removed. A spokesman for British Airways owner IAG said: ‘It was evident in July that islands should be treated separately. The Government is being too slow in making obvious decisions. For most families summer is now over and the damage to the industry and the economy is done.’

Campaigners have been calling for regional travel corridors for some time, saying it will allow quarantine-free holidays to go ahead to islands or safe regions of Covid-hit countries. Speaking in the Commons yesterday, Mr Shapps said infection rates on the islands are ‘too high’ to be exempt. Karen Dee, of the Airport Operators Association, said: ‘Treating islands separately to a mainland, for the purposes of quarantine, is a welcome step in the right direction for Government policy. But the quarantine requirement is devastating the UK aviation industry and this change is unlikely to improve consumer confidence significantly. It is essential that we find a safe alternative.

Campaigners have been calling for regional travel corridors for some time, saying it will allow quarantine-free holidays to go ahead to islands or safe regions of Covid-hit countries

Campaigners have been calling for regional travel corridors for some time, saying it will allow quarantine-free holidays to go ahead to islands or safe regions of Covid-hit countries

‘Industry has been calling for government action on a testing regime for the aviation system for months, while the sector has suffered through its worst summer in a generation.’ Rory Boland, of Which? Travel, said: ‘This approach continues to cost travellers dearly, either through paying extortionate airfares in the scramble to get home, or because speculation that their destination may be added to the quarantine list causes them to needlessly cancel a holiday.

‘It’s clear that the current travel corridor system is not working for passengers, and is further damaging confidence in the sector. A major reassessment of the Government’s approach is needed.’

The regional policy will only apply to land that has a ‘clear boundary’ – such as an island – and ‘internationally comparable data’ on coronavirus cases, the Department for Transport said.

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