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London Luton Airport calls for simplification of international travel rules


London Luton Airport (LLA) is calling on the UK government to simplify the rules for international travel and provide extra support for the travel sector after experiencing another difficult summer.

The airport welcomed 1.2 million passengers throughout July and August this year, as people travelled to visit family and friends, whilst holidaymakers took advantage of relaxed travel restrictions during the summer holidays.

The most popular destinations for passengers travelling through the airport were Palma de Mallorca, Bucharest and Belfast, reflecting the government’s traffic light system.

Despite the success of the UK’s vaccination programme, the uncertainty created by changing travel restrictions resulted in a 4% drop in passenger numbers compared to last summer, while numbers were down 66% compared to pre-pandemic levels, when the airport served 3.6 million in 2019.

Whilst restrictions remain in place, and to secure the recovery of the sector, LLA is calling for further industry support from government. This includes simplifying the approach to travel through easier and cheaper testing. Additional financial support through the quieter winter period will also be essential, such as an extension to the job support scheme for travel businesses.

Commenting on the figures, airport CEO, Alberto Martin, said: “We recognise the effort government is making to try to help the sector navigate this difficult period, but these figures make clear the need to urgently overhaul the current travel system in order to restore passenger confidence and enable the sector to trade its way through the winter season and out of the crisis.

“Further specific financial support is also needed while the outlook remains so uncertain.”

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