International travel is continuing its slow but steady return to normal – even if it's a somewhat strange 'new normal' – with the British government scrapping all coronavirus testing requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers from Friday February 11.
The changes will lower the cost of travel and give consumers more confidence their plans won’t be upended at the last minute, says Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, declaring that "border testing of vaccinated travellers has outlived its usefulness."
Any increase in international visitors is expected to have a knock-on benefit for not only airlines, which have sought to lift all testing requirements, but hotels and restaurants.
The change in testing requirements for travel will apply to vaccinated adults and all children under 18.
Fully-vaccinated travellers arriving in England must currently take a post-arrival test from a private supplier, with these lateral flow tests typically costing around £20.
Airlines have welcomed the government’s decision, which comes ahead of the half-term school holidays, followed by spring break and the busy summer season.
British Airways’ Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle said the move “provides a welcome boost to the travel industry and UK economy," adding that the new rules would allow travellers “to book with confidence whether they are doing business, going on holiday or reuniting with friends and family without the additional costly and time-consuming burden of testing."
“It sends a clear message to the rest of the world that global Britain is back in business.”
With Australia welcoming all international visitors on February 21, British Airways is also resuming its daily London-Sydney flights almost two years since the airline was forced to suspend its popular Kangaroo Route once Singapore's Changi Airport banned transit passengers in the early days of the pandemic.
“We can’t wait to welcome our customers back on board our Sydney to London flights and we will be honoured to play our part in reuniting families and friends with their loved ones after such a long time apart,” enthused Noella Ferns, British Airways’ Head of Sales, Asia Pacific.