AIRPORT bosses are calling on the Government to deliver on a pledge to remove double-testing requirements passengers, as latest figures show the impact on demand for travel.

Stansted says the Government must act to kickstart the recovery of the aviation sector by following through on a commitment to remove remaining travel testing requirements once the omicron variant becomes dominant in the UK.

That was the message from Manchester Airports Group after the Health Secretary announced all 11 countries will be removed from the red list from 4am today on the grounds it is not effective in slowing the arrival of the variant.

MAG is calling on the Government to lift the requirement for all international arriving passengers to take both a pre-departure test and a day two PCR test.

Passenger numbers across its three airports had climbed to an average of 58 per cent of 2019 levels across November, before the introduction of the latest measures.

That represented the highest proportion of pre-pandemic traffic the group has seen.

During the final week of November, passenger numbers across MAG airports peaked at 61 per cent of 2019 levels, compared with only 44 per cent in the latest week.

But MAG said the re-imposition of the day two and pre-departure testing requirements had caused passenger numbers to fall by more than a quarter in the two weeks since then.

CEO Charlie Cornish said: “Our passenger performance in November showed how consumer confidence grew strongly as soon as restrictions on international travel were lifted.

“Our industry supported the re-introduction of testing requirements, which have done their part in slowing the arrival of the Omicron variant.

“However, now there is widespread domestic transmission of the variant across the UK, there can no longer be any justification for maintaining these costly and damaging restrictions.

“The news that all countries will be removed from the red list is positive recognition that they serve little purpose once the variant is circulating widely, but the same is true for the testing requirements which remain.

“Aviation has been hit harder by Covid measures than any other part of the economy. The latest testing requirements are already undermining the strong recovery we were starting to see.

“We need the Government to act swiftly to minimise the disruption to travel and reduce the costs for families travelling over the Christmas, as well as supporting the recovery of our critically-important sector.”