Gatwick Airport has been a key part of Crawley’s success, but the downside of that is that our town is affected to a greater extent when aviation is depressed. Over the last 30 years, I’ve seen this first-hand myself during the Gulf War and after 9/11
Gatwick has always bounced backed and it will do again from the devastating impact of the coronavirus, but in the immediate future we know this is a terrible time for aviation. As well as our own restrictions and the need to quarantine for two weeks from countries that are not in our travel corridor, most countries have their own restrictions, including in some cases not allowing entry to foreign citizens from badly affected countries.
The introduction of travel corridors in July was a major step forward in safely restarting international travel whilst retaining the government’s ability to act quickly if public health was at risk, with international passenger numbers handled at UK airports up by around 400% between June and July to 3.1 million passengers.
Sadly however, due to deteriorating situations abroad with the coronavirus, travel corridors have shrunk and the summer travel season is coming to an end. Therefore, I really welcome the launch of the government’s new Global Travel Taskforce to develop options for a testing regime that could reduce the time needed in self-isolation after travelling abroad, in order to make flying more viable.
The overall aim of the Taskforce will be to consider what steps the government can take to enable the safe and sustainable recovery of international travel. To do this, the taskforce will work at pace to consider:
•how a testing regime for international arrivals could be implemented to boost safe travel to and from the UK
•what steps we can take to facilitate business and tourist travel on a bilateral and global basis, through innovative testing models and other non-testing means
•more broadly, what steps can be taken to increase consumer confidence and reduce the barriers to a safe and sustainable recovery of international travel.
The taskforce will formally report back to the Prime Minister next month.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
14th October 2020