Stansted Airport calls for an end to expensive PCR tests for the fully vaccinated

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia reporter Charlie Frost

The owners of Stansted Airport say the UK's travel restrictions are holding back their recovery.

They're calling for an end to PCR tests for people fully vaccinated, saying the current rules are out of step with the rest of Europe, where the travel industry is recovering at a faster rate.

Passenger levels are still 75 per-cent down on pre-pandemic levels.

Passenger numbers are down 75%. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The UK's aviation sector is recovering at just half the rate of the rest of Europe, according to Steve Griffiths, Managing Director at London Stansted Airport.

Figures show that Europe's airports have already recovered to around 59% of pre-pandemic levels, compared to just 28% in the UK.

Stansted said that since the review of the traffic light system on 4th August, which saw more countries added to the green and amber lists, volumes have picked up slightly but remain significantly below pre-pandemic levels.

Stansted said the UK is out of step with Europe. Credit: ITV News

With just three weeks of the peak summer season remaining, Stansted said the requirement for passengers to pay for PCR tests, even when fully vaccinated and returning from low-risk destinations, was "out of step" with the rest of Europe and holding back the recovery of UK airports and airlines.

The UK's blanket requirement for PCR testing and pre-departure testing differs dramatically to the approach taken by most European countries, which are allowing fully vaccinated passengers to travel between low-risk destinations without having to take any tests.

Airport chiefs say passengers shouldn't have to pay for expensive PCR tests. Credit: ITV News

The Government has said PCR testing is needed to enable genomic sequencing to take place to identify variants of concern, but the latest official data shows only around 5% are actually being sent for sequencing and brings into question the need for passengers to take these tests. 

In a statement, a Government spokesperson said:

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