Are UK airports ready for a June departure date?
Holidays abroad for those living in the UK are a distant memory, after nearly a year of bans and departure restrictions that have seen thousands seek refunds, reschedule bookings and search Google for help and advice. Many wonder if they go on summer vacation, the subject of overseas travel is a hot topic.
It was estimated from which? – which surveyed more than 7,500 people who had to cancel vacations because of Covid-19 – that around 9.4 million people have had package vacations canceled since the UK’s first lockdown in March of last year.
Given this level of disruption affecting the public, it’s no surprise that many people across the country are eager to pack their bags and take to the skies in June.
While this is exciting news for passengers, UK airports are introducing new staff training, improved cleaning protocols and investing in Covid-19 testing.
In anticipation of the highly anticipated departure date, UK airports are preparing night and day to ensure they are ready for the expected influx of passengers.
To ensure the safety of passengers and staff, UK airports have stepped up staff training to ensure the latest rules and regulations are always followed. The training not only shows that staff have received the education they need to perform their jobs safely, but also ensures that the safety of other crew members and passengers is ensured during the journey.
With safety being a top concern for passengers, airports – such as Luton Airport – have increased the number of protective screens, hand gel dispensers and social distancing ground markings. throughout the terminal.
“We are actively working behind the scenes to make all the necessary adjustments so that passengers and employees can travel safely through the terminal.”
Luton Airport CEO Alberto Martin said: “As the restart date approaches, we will continue to take the necessary steps to maintain this leadership position in the industry. We are actively working behind the scenes to make any necessary adjustments so that passengers and employees can travel safely through the terminal.
“Of course, we know that safety will be at the forefront of all passengers’ minds, so we will continue to look at how we can assure passengers that they are traveling safely. “
Along with safety regulations, the airport has also partnered with Collinson – a company that makes products and services for a better customer experience – to provide passengers with test facilities at the wheel and in the Covid-19 terminal. This will allow screening before departure and after arrival.
Airport officials have warned travelers returning to the UK after their holidays will face queues of more than six hours. In a recent statement from Heathrow Airport, a spokesperson said airport queues were becoming ‘untenable’.
The current system that has been put in place at airports provides for border control not only to check passports, but also to ensure that they have the correct documents to comply with sanitary measures.
To ensure that the transmission of Covid-19 is contained, it is essential that these health checks be carried out with regard to proof of vaccination or data from test results, but these checks take time to ensure that they are properly monitored, resulting in a longer waiting time. .
Introducing Covid-19 testing at airports not only comes at an additional cost for passengers – ranging from £ 60 to £ 128 for a test – but for the airports themselves.
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) – an Iverness Airport-based company that operates 11 airports located in the Scottish Highlands, North and West Isles – has invested over £ 1million in additional security measures at its airports to ensure security and Covid-19 compliance is accomplished.
A spokesperson for HIAL said: ‘HIAL is investing around £ 1.2million in additional measures that will augment existing health and safety procedures that have already been implemented during the lockdown and in response to the crisis global health.
“Covid-19 has raised particular challenges for the travel and aviation industry and has affected all aspects of HIAL’s operations. Our processes are under continuous review and can be adapted quickly if required by competent authorities and in accordance with broader public health imperatives. “
Social distancing and sanitation
With crowds of passengers waiting to receive Covid-19 tests, document checks and boarding passes, concern surrounding the danger of the nearby queue has arisen at airports. Since Covid-19 is an easily transmitted disease, social distancing measures have been put into effect since its appearance.
HIAL airports remain on top of these concerns with increased staff training, implementation of social distancing measures and improved cleaning programs.
A spokesperson for HIAL said: “All airports have been secured against COVID-19 through the rapid adoption of a comprehensive suite of mitigation measures, including effective passenger management, improved cleaning programs , the use of disinfectant and the introduction of a wide range of PPE. The terminals have been configured to meet social distancing requirements and are able to scale to meet passenger throughput. ”
Similar to the social distancing management done at HIAL, Luton Airport has included social distancing markings on the ground to ensure that the 2m rule is followed when passengers move through the lane. ‘airport.
Martin explained, “Maintaining social distancing within the terminal building can sometimes be difficult and some queues are inevitable. Knowing this, we have therefore made a series of changes throughout the airport to keep this to a minimum and hope that passengers feel safe and happy when traveling with us.
We don’t go on summer vacation
There is speculation that summer trips to the UK may not be as busy as expected. Confusion surrounding the government’s system of traffic lights – a system that ranks countries based on travel risk – may cause UK passengers to prefer to stay and go on national holidays instead.
Along with the unclear and constantly evolving road lighting system, passengers also face the problem of self-isolation when returning from their journey from certain destinations.
“A survey conducted by GlobalData showed that quarantine requirements and travel restrictions remain the two main obstacles to international travel.”
GlobalData Associate Travel and Tourism Analyst Gus Gardner said: “A survey conducted by GlobalData showed that quarantine requirements and travel restrictions remain the top two deterrents to international travel with 58% and 55%. % * of respondents saying that these factors would discourage them from traveling. This puts summer bookings at risk, and unless these issues are resolved quickly, consumers will continue to be reluctant to book international travel. “
Given the uncertainty surrounding international travel, can people residing in the UK be encouraged to fly to UK destinations instead? In another survey conducted by GlobalData, the results show that 43% ** of respondents plan to go on a domestic trip within the next 12 months.
With a higher level of confidence in booking travel closer to home, UK airports could expect to see a summer of strong demand for domestic travel.
Martin said: “Aviation plays a vital role in the economy, both through the revenue it generates and by enabling connectivity. We are therefore supporting the resumption of travel in a way that prioritizes the safety of passengers and staff.
* GlobalData Live Tracker verdict Survey out of 1318 respondents, Live since November 17, 2020
** GlobalData Live Tracker Verdict survey with 1132 respondents, live since November 17, 2020