Air travel was damaged by ‘disproportionate’ Covid rules, say MPs

Air travel was damaged by ‘disproportionate’ Covid rules, say MPs

Aviation must be incorporated in future pandemic resilience planning to provide travellers and the industry with predictability and transparency, warn MPs.

In their new report, UK aviation: reform for take-off, parliament’s transport committee sets out positive actions for the government to support the recovery and development of the sector following the coronavirus pandemic.

The report concludes that the government’s restrictions on air travel throughout the pandemic were disproportionate to the risks to public health, causing a severe financial shock to the sector. The decision-making process was not transparent or consistent, nor based on scientific consensus.

The arbitrary nature of fifteen different changes to restrictions imposed on travellers also left them struggling to navigate a confusing “traffic light” system, access affordable testing and secure refunds.


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The report urged the government to set up an international travel toolkit based on the principles of transparency and proportionate action. MPs argue that international travel restrictions must be evidenced by the advice and analysis used by ministers to impose restrictions, considering public health and economic factors. A global taskforce promoting the standardisation of the remaining international travel requirements should be convened.

Today’s report urges the government to publish its aviation recovery plan no later than 1 June 2022, and introduce an Airline Insolvency Bill in the next Session of Parliament, to better protect consumers, employees and taxpayers.

  • MPs also argue that the powers of the Civil Aviation Authority be beefed up, allowing them to impose financial penalties on airlines that do not refund customers when required.

In April 2022, airport passenger numbers increased to their highest since the start of the pandemic, putting pressure on the sector during the Easter holidays. The committee is critical of government attempts to lay the blame on an aviation sector decimated by restrictions and a lack of certainty offered by ministers.

The government is also urged to review the processes related to the timely recruitment and training of staff.

Transport committee chair Huw Merriman MP, said: “In the face of a global pandemic, today’s report…

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