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Airlines, holiday airlines increase pressure on Britain to ease travel rules By Reuters

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© Reuters. PHOTOGRAPHY FILE: PHOTOGRAPHY FILE: Travelers to Heathrow Airport, London, UK, February 13, 2021. REUTERS / Toby Melville / Photo File

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LONDON (Reuters) – British airlines and holiday carriers are planning a “day of action” on Wednesday to increase pressure on the government to ease travel restrictions, just weeks before the start of the tip.

Travel companies, whose finances have been stretched to the point of rupture during the pandemic, are desperate to avoid another summer lost to COVID-19. But with Britain’s rigid quarantine requirements still in place it now seems likely.

As the clock expires in July, Ryanair’s largest European airline and Manchester Airports Group launched legal action on Thursday to try to get the government to ease the rules before the industry’s most profitable season begins.

On Wednesday 23 June, pilots, cabin crew and travel agents gathered in Westminster, central London and airports across the UK to try to garner support.

The British aviation industry has been hit harder by the pandemic than its European counterparts, according to data released by the BALPA pilots union on Sunday.

This showed that daily arrivals and departures in the UK fell by 73% on an average day earlier this month compared to before the pandemic, the biggest drop in Europe. Spain, Greece and France fell by less than 60%.

UK airports were also severely affected, with traffic on the outskirts of London’s second-largest airport, Gatwick, down 92%, according to the data.

Time is running out for the industry, the union said.

“There is no time to hide behind the workforce and magazines,” said BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton.

“BALPA demands that the UK Government take action and open up American routes and European holiday travel destinations that it has blocked without published evidence.”

More than 45,000 jobs are already lost in UK aviation, with estimates suggesting that 860,000 jobs in aviation, travel and tourism are supported solely by government furlough schemes.

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