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International Travel: Safe Restart

Volume 690: debated on Thursday 11 March 2021

What preparatory steps his Department is taking on the safe restart of international travel during the covid-19 pandemic. (913236)

The Government have launched the global travel taskforce mark 2 in order to help facilitate international travel as we deal with this virus.

My right hon. Friend will be aware that thousands of manufacturing jobs in my constituency are reliant on the aerospace and aviation sector. What those people need more than anything else is aircraft in the air, flying again. Will my right hon. Friend set out what steps he is taking with global partners, including looking at schemes such as the International Air Transport Association’s travel pass, to get aircraft flying again in a way that is safe and sustainable?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. He will recall that mark 1 of the global travel taskforce introduced test to release to assist with this. Mark 2 will introduce travel certification by using schemes such as IATA’s travel pass or the World Economic Forum’s CommonPass. He will be interested to know that I have been having conversations with my US counterpart and many others around the world to get that travel going again. The report will be on 12 April.

The Secretary of State just mentioned 12 April for the global travel taskforce recommendations. Is that the date on which the public and the aviation industry will know what the rules will be, or is it just the date when the recommendations will be given to No. 10?

The Chair of the Transport Committee is absolutely right; 12 April is the date that we will report back, and we will make it public on the same day. Travel for leisure or other purposes will not resume or be allowed until 17 May at the earliest. It is important that people realise that that is the earliest date, but we are very keen to get the aviation sector that many Members across the House have talked about back in the air, and this is the route to get it there.