Vaccines and testing key to return of international travel, Shapps tells MPs

The Transport Secretary outlined the options to help the ailing sector recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Passengers in Terminal 2 at Heathrow airport a
Passengers in Terminal 2 at Heathrow airport a

A combination of vaccines, testing and travel passes will help restart international travel, according to the Transport Secretary.

Grant Shapps outlined the options being examined when pressed by MPs to help the ailing sector recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking in the Commons, Conservative Simon Jupp (East Devon) raised concerns about the long-term effects of Covid on the aviation industry and asked when the Government will publish its aviation plan.

The Transport Secretary replied: “Well on 12 April (Mr Jupp) can look forward to seeing that report published and we’ll make sure that in there there is a route not only out of the lockdown for travel, but all being well – as long as the vaccination programme is going as it is at the moment here, but also internationally – the route open to international travel again.

Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps (House of Commons/PA)

“I do just want to stress to the House that whilst we are in control of our own vaccination programme – what is it, 44% of our adult population now vaccinated – we don’t have the same control over other countries’ vaccinations.

“And that is why we think we will require a combination of vaccination, but also of testing, in order to have international travel work again.”

Earlier, Mr Shapps was asked to examine global schemes to help restart the sector, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) travel pass.

Travel passes are designed to show whether a passenger has had Covid-19 tests or vaccines required to enter a country.

Mr Shapps told MPs: “He’ll recall mark one of the global travel taskforce introduced test-to-release in order to assist.

“Mark two will introduce travel certification by using things like IATA’s travel pass or indeed the World Economic Forum’s commonpass in order to do that.

“I’ve been having conversations with my US counterpart and many others around the world in order to get that travel going again.

“The report will be on April 12.”

Conservative Huw Merriman, chairman of the Transport Committee, asked if the industry and public will know the rules by April 12.

Mr Shapps replied: “April 12 is the date we’ll report back and make that public as well on the same day.

“Travel won’t resume until at the earliest May 17. I think it’s important for people to know travel won’t be allowed until May 17 for leisure or other purposes so it’s important that people realise that’s the earliest date.

“We’re very keen to get the aviation sector back in the air and this is the route to get them there.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News