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BALPA calls on Transport Secretary to use airport COVID-19 testing, end automatic 14-day quarantine, and get Britain flying 

BALPA’s General Secretary, Brian Strutton, has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, to ask him urgently to approve airport COVID-19 testing as an alternative to the punitive 14-day quarantine required for many inbound passengers.

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr Shapps, 

I want to urge you in the strongest possible terms urgently to approve airport Covid testing as an alternative to punitive quarantine measures which are killing aviation, travel and international trade. On this I believe the whole industry is united. 

The crisis facing the travel and aviation industry is acute. Thousands of jobs are being lost, livelihoods are being destroyed and companies are on the edge of survival. The Government must do everything it can to support such a vital sector. 

Allowing testing as an alternative to the current 14-day quarantine periods for incoming passengers from higher-risk areas would be a sensible and effective measure. Currently potential passengers are being discouraged from travelling because of the likelihood of being unable to go to work or take their children to school on their return. Allowing airport testing as an alternative to that would change those perceptions. Indeed, many passengers would welcome the clarity that a Covid test can bring.  

More than 30 other countries around the world have adopted a system of airport testing because they recognise this is a much sharper tool for controlling the virus as those with a positive test can then be quarantined and monitored more effectively, and crucially boosts passenger confidence in travelling. 

We do not blame the Government for Covid, but the Government’s reaction to its effect on the travel industry has been lamentable. Even at this stage, you can help by changing course on airport testing – tens of thousands of aviation workers are relying on you to do so. 

Yours sincerely, 

Brian Strutton 
BALPA General Secretary