Winter sun hopes boosted as airport boss says London-Dubai travel corridor is ready

Charles Hymas
·2-min read
Dubai skyline at Jumeirah beach - Michael R. Cruz /Getty 
Dubai skyline at Jumeirah beach - Michael R. Cruz /Getty
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter

Winter sun hopes have been boosted after an airport boss said a London to Dubai travel corridor was ready – but needed the two governments' approval.

Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai airports, said a test and quarantine regime had been agreed by hubs and airlines, but whether they moved forward was "in the hands of politicians".

"It's about time that governments actually recognise what a great job the travel and tourism industry is doing in controlling the spread of the virus," he said, adding that reviving demand for travel was "an essential part of the kick-start of the global economy".

The move follows a similar travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong, underpinned by testing, which is due to start within weeks.

Singapore is understood to have agreed similar "bubbles" for business travel from other countries including Germany, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea. India has established "bubbles" with 17 countries.

Such arrangements, based on pre-departure testing to enable travellers to sidestep or substantially reduce their time in quarantine on arrival, are being considered by the UK Government's taskforce on testing, chaired by Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, and Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary.

It is expected, however, that such an approach is more likely to be part of any second phase opening of travel corridors based on testing. Initially, Mr Shapps favours "domestic" UK-based Covid-19 tests for arrivals that would free people from quarantine after at least seven days.

A travel corridor between London and New York-adjacent Newark is in the works but is also awaiting the green light from governments, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. 

Which of the new options is welcoming UK travellers?
Which of the new options is welcoming UK travellers?

A United Airlines flight between the two destinations recently carried out the first US trial of a new digital health app designed to share virus test results and help unlock the lucrative transatlantic market.

"I think all it would take is one major corridor to sign up and agree, for there to be a whole lot of confidence from other countries," Mr Griffiths told Bloomberg.

Other agreements include one with Aeroporti di Roma which is talking to authorities in other countries about replicating rules on its Rome-Milan route that carries only Covid-19-tested passengers.

The airport is in talks with Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Aeroflot PJSC and Emirates about introducing tests for their flights from the Fiumicino hub in the Italian capital.

Lufthansa is in talks with the US and Canadian governments to use tests to reopen the transatlantic market.