Jet2’s chief executive says the travel company will suspend flights and holidays until at least 23 June due to uncertainty over the government’s travel proposals.
Steve Heapy said he had been “extremely disappointed at the lack of clarity and detail” in the plans, which were announced overnight.
He added: Because of the continued uncertainty that the framework provides, it is with a heavy heart that we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including 23 June 2021.
“Where customers yet to travel are affected by any programme changes, we will automatically cancel their booking with a full refund, and our team of travel experts will be in touch to help them to book their summer getaway for later in the year.”
The traffic light “framework” proposed by the government includes making all UK arrivals take pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 tests.
Post-arrival tests must be the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) type which cost about £120, prompting a backlash from the travel industry which has warned foreign holidays this year would be “just something for the wealthy”.
The sector wants travellers returning from low-risk countries to be allowed to take lateral flow tests, which are cheaper and quicker.
Mr Heapy said: “After several weeks exploring how to restart international travel, with substantial assistance and input from the industry, the framework lacks any rigorous detail about how to get international travel going again. In fact, the framework is virtually the same as six months ago.
“Following the publication of the framework today, we still do not know when we can start to fly, where we can fly to and the availability and cost of testing. Rather than answering questions, the framework leaves everyone asking more.
“We know how much our customers want to get away to enjoy their well-deserved holidays. We have seen buoyant confidence levels from UK holidaymakers, as well as strong demand for our ATOL protected package holidays and leisure flights. We are trying to run a business so that we can take customers away, but we need the Government to provide us with clarity to achieve this.”