The UK government is on the verge of scrapping mandatory hotel quarantine for passengers who arrive into the UK on connecting flights via “airport hubs”, it has been reported.
Currently anyone passing through a red list country must complete 10 days’ (11 nights’) hotel quarantine on arrival in the UK, at a cost of up to £1,750 per person, even if they only transited through a red-list country’s airport to catch an onward flight.
The potential change in the rules would allow those who remain airside during transit to avoid red list rules - providing they don’t leave the airport - and instead follow the rules associated with the country their journey originated in.
The move would apply to transport hubs Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Doha and Bahrain, all of which are currently on the UK red list.
For arrivals originally hailing from green list countries, that would mean taking a Covid-19 test before departure and a PCR test on day two following arrival in the UK.
Fully vaccinated arrivals from amber list countries can also skip quarantine, while unvaccinated travellers must quarantine at home for 10 days and take tests on days two and eight.
The change is expected to take place on 5 August as part of the upcoming update to the government’s traffic light system, a government source told the Telegraph.
The move will ease travel to the UK from parts of the Far East, Middle East and Australia, as passengers from these destinations often have no choice but to transit through a red list country to complete their journeys.
It has been hailed as a boon for the aviation industry by travel experts including Paul Charles, chief executive of the travel consultancy The PC Agency.
Speaking to the Mirror, Charles said: “Aviation has grown in recent years on the back of strong interconnectivity at these hubs. Without them, the airlines cannot operate at anything like the capacity they need.
“It would be major progress if they opened the hubs for transit passengers but it is only when they come off the red list that it will make a true difference to the travel sector.”
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