Easyjet boss questions why travellers from green list countries should need tests.
The chief executive of EasyJet chief has called for the cost of PCR tests to be cut to £30
Johan Lundgren said that it is important the government “makes good on its promise to drive down the cost of testing.”
He said: “We see the costs of PCR tests coming down to £60. That is still a significant cost for a family. It’s a good first step. I expect the government to continue to work to bring costs down.”
“There is still VAT on that [price]. If that was removed you would get down to £50. If we could get the cost down to £30 there would be higher acceptance by people of these kind of tests.”
Lundgren argued that testing should be removed for arrivals from green countries or lateral flow tests should be used initially, instead.
“Why should arrivals from green countries be subject to testing? Green should mean green. By definition these countries are low risk and that should mean unrestricted travel,” he said.
“If you want a test, it should be the same test as used in opening up the UK – a lateral flow test. Then if you have Covid you take a PCR test to see if it’s a variant of concern.”
He said: “We’ll see a lot of receiving countries around the Mediterranean that will not require a PCR test.”
Mark Tanzer, the chief executive of ABTA, said that the “requirement for a PCR test when you arrive back from a green list country could prove a cost-barrier for many people.”
He said: “Small changes, like requiring a PCR test only if the individual gets a positive result from a lateral flow test, would make international travel more accessible and affordable whilst still providing an effective mitigation against re-importation of the virus.”
“The government should also consider whether those who have been vaccinated can be exempt from testing requirements, should scientific evidence suggest reduced transmissibility,” Tanzer added.
Lundgren declined to say which countries he expects to be on the government’s green list of travel, insisting: “We don’t know. That decision sits entirely with the government.” However, he said he was forecasting a strong summer for travel.
He added that he is in the dark about what countries will be on the green list, but added: “I don’t see a reason why you wouldn’t have most countries [in Europe] on there when we open up on May 17.”
“By the time we get to May 17, I struggle to see how there would be many countries not in that green category unless something happens. This is the main question for customers right now. Is a country in the green category? It’s up to the government to decide. I would hope and expect there would be a big number of countries on the list,” he added.