Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the move in a tweet on Monday afternoon, saying it would mean “greater freedom” ahead of the Easter school holidays.
Shapps said: “All remaining Covid travel measures, including the Passenger Locator Form and tests for all arrivals, will be stood down for travel to the UK from 4am on 18 March.
All remaining Covid travel measures, including the Passenger Locator Form and tests for all arrivals, will be stood down for travel to the UK from 4am on 18 March.
These changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout and mean greater freedom in time for Easter.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) March 14, 2022
“These changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout and mean greater freedom in time for Easter.”
The wording of Shapps’ tweet suggests the measures could be reintroduced in future if deemed necessary.
The government has previously said it would be prepared to take necessary measures if another variant of concern emerges.
Health secretary Sajid Javid also tweeted about the scrapping of tests and forms, commenting: “This is thanks to our incredible vaccine programme which has seen over 8 in 10 adults across the UK boosted.”
Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “Two years after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, today’s announcement marks international travel finally returning to normal.
“The removal of needless forms and ineffective testing regimes means that customers can at long last enjoy hassle-free travel, just like they did before the pandemic.
“With Easter just around the corner and summer fast approaching, this announcement comes at the perfect time.
“Since restrictions started to be eased at the beginning of the year, we have experienced strong, sustained demand and the complete removal of forms and requirements will boost that demand even further.”
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson commented: “The removal of all remaining UK travel restrictions, including the Passenger Locator Form, is the final important step towards frictionless air travel, helping to further restore consumer confidence as we welcome more customers back to the skies this spring and summer.
“With these barriers to travel removed, Britain is open for business and passengers can reconnect with loved ones and business colleagues once again. To uphold the experience of all travellers, it’s vital that the UK government works closely with industry to ensure the UK border is ready for increasing passengers, as international travel ramps up.”
The Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK) applauded the “pragmatic” move and its chief executive, Dale Keller, said: “This is a truly significant milestone and passengers and airlines will be delighted.
“We urge the UK government to quickly capitalise on the strategic importance of aviation to the whole of society and the UK economy by fully supporting the sector as it invests in rebuilding the country’s vital global connectivity in challenging times.”
Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association (BTA), said axing the PLFs will “oil the wheels of the UK economy”, adding: “It will make business travel more frictionless, stimulating trade and reducing the £2.5 billion a week impact our economy still faces from Covid travel restrictions. Business travel demand is returning, and today’s news is another vital step in that recovery.”
Joss Croft, chief executive at UKinbound, commented: “The removal of all UK travel restrictions signals the real beginning of recovery for the country’s tourism industry and will give international consumers the confidence to book a holiday to the UK. From the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to the Commonwealth Games, there are so many reasons to visit this year.”
Travel Counsellor Emma Savage tweeted: “Hurrah. That pesky PLF form interfering with your last few days on holiday is to be no more!”
Source – travel weekly