MIAMI – A new exit permit for international travel has been launched this week to prevent illegal trips departing from the UK. The new measure threatens to ruin the aviation industry once and for all with thousands of people canceling trips that last week were permitted.
Now passengers leaving the country need to bring evidence to prove that their trip is essential. Only a few reasons are permitted, such as work, volunteering, education, medical grounds, and funerals. People attempting to travel for other reasons will be asked to return home and will get a fine that can go up to £6,400.
This happens to be the strictest travel restriction to date. Although the Government always recommended avoiding holiday trips and traveling only when it was necessary, it was never considered a criminal offense.
Now the question is: will this be the worst hit for the aviation industry?
Comments from Airport Operators Association
Henk van Klaveren, from the Airport Operators Association, explained that the many travel restrictions that the Government has been layering over the last few months have already damaged the aviation industry severely. “Travel is already down 98-99%, it can’t go any lower than that,” said Henk. “There are a number of airports that haven’t seen a single passenger in weeks if not months.”
The AOA believes that instead of helping the industry, the Government is making its recovery harder after the Chancellor announced last week an increase of Air Passenger Duty on long-haul flights. “We understand that from a public health perspective, the Government is currently limiting travel. Health must come first, but we also need a pathway out of these restrictions,” explained Henk.
This new measure has already affected thousands of people that had trips planned for the upcoming weeks. Although they were traveling for legitimate reasons, apparently, they are not good enough according to the new rule.
Astrich Francesch, a Spaniard living in London, was going to give birth to her second daughter in Barcelona next week. Now, she must cancel her trip. “With this new requirement, I am not sure that I can justify my trip to Spain. I don’t know if it is considered a medical reason, as it is not an illness. Either way, I am not going to try because it is too complicated and risky,” she explained.
Some people have raised concern about the new form and how it doesn’t include other valid reasons for international travel. “They have included everything but personal issues.
Sometimes, even though is difficult to evaluate every case, there are people that are really struggling with their mental health, and going home for a few weeks or months can help a lot,” said Chiara Bersani, an Italian student living in Lancaster. Chiara has also been affected by the new restriction. She was planning on flying to Italy for Easter after not seeing her family for a year.
The end of this restriction and so the earliest possible date for the UK to go on holiday will be May 17.
Article writter by Andrea Blazquez. Featured image: Photo: Ferrovial Airports