Bristol Airport joins nationwide protests over coronavirus travel restrictions

  • Watch Katie Rowlett's report here.

Employees and businesses from across the aviation and travel industries have protested at Bristol Airport - asking the Government to reconsider its approach to international travel.

The airport has seen less than 10% of its usual passenger numbers in the last year and says thousands of jobs could be at risk if restrictions don't change.

Industry body ABTA, which is leading the 'Travel Day of Action' across the UK, argues there are no major tourist destinations on the quarantine-free green list, and the Government has urged people to avoid holidays to countries on the amber list, leaving the industry on its knees.

It estimates that 195,000 travel jobs have been lost during the coronavirus pandemic or are at risk.

In Bristol, pilots joined cabin crew, travel agents and airport operators, on the tarmac to vent their frustration at the Government's travel restrictions.

Hundreds of pilots, cabin crew and travel agents are protesting in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Credit: ITV News

EasyJet pilot Zoey Ebrey said: "Personally I've seen a 40 per cent drop in my income.

"I'm actually still employed. I have friends in the industry that have lost their jobs after 20 years of a career. There is no future ahead of us that is really certain at the moment."

ABTA wants the government to add more countries to the green list and remove testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated people returning from green and amber countries.

It is also calling for a package of tailored financial support, such as extending the furlough scheme until April 2022.

Zoey Ebrey is an EasyJet pilot. Credit: ITV News

The CEO of Bristol Airport, Dave Lees, said it is "now or never" to save the industry: "We have had to make very difficult decisions around redundancies across a whole range of companies here at the airport, but most importantly people's well being.

"Staff here want to do their job, they want to make sure they can serve people to be able to fly again and at the moment they feel frustrated and let down by the government."

The Government will update its travel lists for England on Thursday and ITV News understands it is expected to announce that fully vaccinated adults and children will be allowed to visit amber list countries without having to quarantine on arrival in Britain.

Although the deal has not yet been agreed, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told ITV News: "We have got a couple of checkpoints in the next few days and we'll be able to say more once we've looked at the science.

"The most important thing is to hold onto the gains we've got. We've been seeing the advantages of the jab rollout in this country and I hope we will start to see more people being able to live more normal lives?"

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