STANSTED Airport bosses have called on the Government to introduce a simple two-tier travel system ahead of an October review, as figures reveal the aviation sector is the worst hit.

Government figures show UK aviation is the worst hit sector – more than 90 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels.

Stansted Airport bosses are now calling for the Government to introduce a simplified two-tier system for international travel.

Stansted served just 26 per cent of pre-pandemic traffic over the crucial summer months, with numbers still 60 per cent down in August compared to 2019.

MAG, the UK’s largest airport group which owns and operates Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands airports, reported its passenger numbers for August were 68.1 per cent down on the same month in 2019.

Figures also showed Stansted served little more than 2.18 million passengers between June and August this year, which was only 26 per cent of the almost 8.3 million passengers over the same period in 2019.

MAG says the UK’s traffic light system must be reformed urgently and ahead of the scheduled October 1 review date to protect the travel sector through the winter season.

It says the introduction of a two-tier system would see the majority of international markets open for travel as the default, with only those countries which pose a significant public health risk from new variants subject to travel restrictions such as testing and a period of quarantine. 

Bosses say the proposal would “remove the chaos and confusion caused by the traffic light system and restore consumer confidence” by reducing concerns about last-minute changes.

As well as the simplified system, it called on the Government to remove mandatory testing requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals from countries without new Covid-19 variants.

MAG says it would remove a costly and unnecessary barrier to travel and bring the UK’s travel policy back in line with Europe.

CEO Charlie Cornish said: “Fully-vaccinated British residents can only look on in envy as people across Europe enjoy the freedom to travel easily to low-risk holiday destinations.

“With restrictions almost entirely removed across the UK, now is the time to give people back those freedoms to explore, relax and visit loved ones.

“The UK’s over-cautious and unnecessarily complex traffic light system is confusing to customers and places needless barriers in the way of them booking travel.

“The impact that is having on our sector is clear, with traffic levels recovering at a much greater rate across Europe than here in the UK.”