Jet2 Leeds Bradford Airport flights still cancelled into June as airline criticises Government travel framework
Jet2 has announced that it will continue to suspend flights until late June as it criticised the Government's travel framework.
The Leeds-based airline and package holiday provider said it was "disappointed" at the "lack of clarity" in the Global Travel Taskforce’s framework.
The Global Travel Taskforce, which published its recommendations on Friday, May 17 did not confirm whether foreign holidays will be permitted from May 17 or which destinations people can visit without self-isolating on their return.
However, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, Steve Heapy, said the framework "lacks any rigorous detail".
The company has chosen to extended the suspension of flights until June 23 due to this.
Mr Heapy,said: “We have taken time to study the Global Travel Taskforce’s framework, and we are extremely disappointed at the lack of clarity and detail.
"After several weeks exploring how to restart international travel, with substantial assistance and input from the industry, the framework lacks any rigorous detail about how to get international travel going again.
"In fact, the framework is virtually the same as six months ago.
"Following the publication of the framework today, we still do not know when we can start to fly, where we can fly to and the availability and cost of testing. Rather than answering questions, the framework leaves everyone asking more.
He added: "Because of the continued uncertainty that the framework provides, it is with a heavy heart that we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including June 23, 2021.
"We know how much our customers want to get away to enjoy their well-deserved holidays.
"We have seen buoyant confidence levels from UK holidaymakers, as well as strong demand for our ATOL protected package holidays and leisure flights.
"We are trying to run a business so that we can take customers away, but we need the Government to provide us with clarity to achieve this."
Jet2 customers that are affected by the changes will have their bookings cancelling automatically.
They will receive a full refund.
A Jet2 staff member will contact them to help them book another holiday later in the year.
Mr Heapy said: "We have received praise from customers, consumer organisations, media and independent travel agents for our industry-leading and prompt refunding of over £1bn to customers whose travel plans have been affected by programme changes during the pandemic, and we will continue this customer-first approach.
"Unlike many other companies, we will refund customers if they want their money back and we will not force them to accept refund credit notes.
"The health and safety of our customers and colleagues will of course continue to be our number one priority, and we look forward to taking our customers on their well-deserved holidays once again. We welcome the Government’s ambition to reopen travel, however the time has come for the industry to receive the necessary detail to make this happen.”
Announcing the findings of the task force, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps did confirm that a traffic light system will be used to categorise countries based on risk.
He also said the Government will work with the travel industry and private testing providers to reduce the cost of foreign trips.
This could lead to free pre-departure tests and cheaper tests when holidaymakers return.
The Department for Transport said in a statement: “It is too early to predict which countries will be on which list over the summer, and the Government continues to consider a range of factors to inform the restrictions placed on them.
“We will set out by early May which countries will fall into which category, as well as confirming whether international travel can resume from 17 May.”
Under the traffic light system, assessments will be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of a country’s population which has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
These are the rules for each category:
– Green: There is no need to self-isolate. Take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two of your arrival in the UK.
– Amber: Self-isolate for 10 days, unless you receive a negative result from a test taken at least five days after arrival. Take a pre-departure test, and PCR tests on day two and day eight of your arrival in the UK.
– Red: Spend 11 days in a quarantine hotel. Take a pre-departure test, and PCR tests on day two and day eight of your arrival in the UK.
The categorisation of countries will be “kept under review” with a “particular focus on variants of concern”, the Department for Transport said.
Restrictions will be “formally reviewed” on June 28 to take account of “the domestic and international health picture and to see whether current measures could be rolled back”, the department added.
Further reviews will take place no later than July 31 and October 1.