With travel restrictions beginning to ease, there’s been plenty of talk about air bridges between countries that may help to reduce disruption. But what exactly are air bridges, how will they work and which countries are considering an air bridge with the UK?
What is an air bridge?
Also known as travel corridors, air bridges allow countries to create a two-way agreement to waive blanket quarantine on arrival requirements.
As both business and leisure travel begins to return, the UK (along with other countries) has imposed a mandatory quarantine for anyone entering the country. This is set as 14 days and came into force on June 8. While the ability to travel has been welcomed, a two-week lockdown for those returning from travel may make the prospect of going abroad less appealing. Air bridges are designed to work around this issue for travel from certain countries.
How do they work?
The UK Government is working with their international counterparts in those countries with low infection rates to understand the local trajectory of the virus and what measures they currently have in place (such as social distancing).
An agreement will then be created between the UK and those countries that meet infection control criteria to allow travel without a mandatory quarantine on arrival at either destination.
What countries will air bridges be in place with?
Discussions are currently underway with a number of countries, and it is anticipated that the first set of air bridges with the UK will be with France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Greece, Belgium, Netherlands, Gibraltar, Bermuda, and potentially Portugal.
Further air bridges will be added as and when available, with an expectation that medium to long haul destinations will be added toward the end of summer.
When will the air bridges come into play?
The first set of air bridges are anticipated to be opening on the 29 June. Again, nothing has been officially announced as final details are still being organised, but Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has stated
“We want to make sure we are not re-infected either by Brits going abroad and coming back or people coming from those areas. The quarantine is serving that purpose, but we’re also aware there are areas where the virus is more under control and we are having conversations and I will be saying more about that on or by the 29th.”
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