Heathrow’s boss has criticised the low number of countries on the UK’s green travel list and said that the US must be included in the next update.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “The government’s green list is very welcome, but they need to expand it massively in the next few weeks to include other low-risk markets such as the United States and remove the need for fully vaccinated passengers to take two expensive PCR tests.”
Holland-Kaye was speaking after another set of grim numbers for the airport, with passenger numbers in April down by 92% compared to the same month in 2019.
The current green list of countries is overcautious, he added, and the next review on 17 May needs to include the US.
Just 12 countries were included with Portugal and Israel the only major tourist destinations on the list while others such as Australia have restrictions on travellers from the UK.
“Government should help people plan ahead by publishing a list of countries expected to be on the green list for the summer holidays so that passengers are not faced with high prices for last-minute bookings,” Holland-Kaye added.
By the end of June, Heathrow also wants to see people who are fully vaccinated allowed to travel without restriction.
He welcomed automated check-in but said it was the responsibility of Ministers that every desk is staffed at peak times to avoid unacceptable queue times.
“Border Force’s claims that “long queues in immigration are inevitable” smack of complacency – they are completely avoidable if Ministers ensure that all desks are staffed at peak times.”