British Airways CEO Calls For US To Be Placed On UK Green List

Holidaying is once again back on the cards for many brits as the UK Government officially ended its…

British Airways CEO Calls For US To Be Placed On UK Green List

Holidaying is once again back on the cards for many brits as the UK Government officially ended its non-essential travel ban today. Commemorating the occasion, British Airways CEO Sean Doyle called for the government to add the United States to its green list while removing testing requirements for those who have been vaccinated.

British Airways today celebrated the re-opening of non-essential travel from the United Kingdom. Photo: British Airways

For most of 2021 so far, Brits have been unable to travel. In no uncertain terms, the government wanted that holidays were illegal and could attract fines of up to £5,000 ($7,050). This has now been changed, with people allowed to leave the United Kingdom for any reason. Now the only firm barrier to travel will be if the destination country will receive them.

Calling for the US on the green list

At a press conference held to mark the reopening of international travel, British Airways CEO Sean Doyle called for a travel corridor between the United Kingdom and the United States. This, in itself, isn’t great news as airlines on both sides of the Atlantic have been campaigning for such a route for quite some time. Doyle previously suggested that such a bubble could lead to the return of the Airbus A380.

Commenting, Doyle said,

“We need the government to start progressively assigning green status to many more low-risk countries… It’s clear to us that America should be on the green list, and the importance of the US and UK cannot be underestimated.”

British Airways, United States, Green List
Doyle wants to see the United States added as a green list destination. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Doyle went on to emphasize the economic impact of keeping the corridor closed, adding,

“Prohibiting travel to and from the US, not only stops loved ones being together., it has a considerable cost to the economy. And we reckon every day we’re shut it’s costing £32 million [$45 million] per day.”

So what is allowed?

Revealing the green list just over a week ago, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that quarantine-free travel would initially just be allowed from 12 countries, with just a handful of these being viable for widespread tourism.

By far, the most popular destination on the list was Portugal. Even this didn’t come without its own set of challenges. While the UK Government’s green list was announced on Friday, May 7th, Portugal didn’t confirm that it would accept UK travelers until a week later, Friday, May 14th. With just days until the green list went live, some travelers were, understandably, a little on edge.

British Airways, United States, Green List
Only a handful of destinations are viable for tourism on the current green list. Photo: British Airways

Passengers traveling to green list countries won’t have to quarantine on arrival in the United Kingdom. They will need to take a COVID-19 test before departure, followed by a costly PCR test on day two after travel.

In contrast, those traveling from amber countries will need to quarantine for ten days, brought down to five with a test on day five. In addition to this optional test, more PCR tests must be taken on days two and eight. Travelers from red list countries will need to self isolate in government-managed hotels for ten days. The UK Government still discourages travel to both amber and red list destinations.

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Are cheaper tests on the way?

Currently, the cheapest COVID-19 tests available to British Airways passengers are day two and eight tests from Randox. With a discount code provided by the airline, these clock in at £120 ($169) for two (£60 each). However, there is a glimmer of hope from the airline. While it is yet to be reflected on the British Airways website, Doyle let slip that British Airways will begin offering £40 ($56) PCR tests, most likely through a partner. Doyle said,

“I think we’ve been driving the cost of PCR testing down very effectively. So today we launched the £40 PCR test, which is significantly lower than a lot of what the tests were being charged say a month ago.”

Are you pleased to see the (arguably very limited) resumption of travel to and from the UK? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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SpiceJet Pilots Grounded In Croatia For 21 Hours

In shocking news, four SpiceJet pilots were forced to remain onboard their aircraft during a stop in Zagreb,…

SpiceJet Pilots Grounded In Croatia For 21 Hours

In shocking news, four SpiceJet pilots were forced to remain onboard their aircraft during a stop in Zagreb, Croatia. The reason behind this was a missing negative COVID-19 test, which was needed for crew layovers in Croatia. However, confusion over the rules meant that the pilots were in the Boeing 737 for 21 hours.

The crew members were on the ground for nearly a full day to meet safety requirements. Photo: Getty Images


According to the Times of India, the situation unfolded last Tuesday following a flight from Delhi to Zagreb, with a stop in Tbilisi. Ever-changing testing rules and a lack of foresight meant that four pilots and reportedly more crew members were stuck on the Boeing 737 for over 21 hours.

The problems began once the SpiceJet charter flight landed in Zagreb. Airport authorities asked the crew members to produce negative test reports before heading to their hotel layover. However, the crew had not undergone a test in New Delhi since SpiceJet never asked them to do so.

SpiceJet 737 British Airways 747 London
None of the pilots or crew had negative test reports. Photo: Getty Images

According to a SpiceJet spokesperson, the airline had confirmation from Croatian authorities that the crew would not need a negative test for their layover. Instead, the rules seem to have changed mid-flight, the spokesperson said. Airport authorities did not test the crew on arrival, leaving them stranded onboard.


Under crew rest rules, no pilots can fly without a minimum number of hours spent resting in certain conditions. The rules meant that the crew could not fly the 737 back to New Delhi right after the issue.

Instead, airport authorities offered the crew bedding, food, and water, along with cleaning services for their layover. All four pilots, and some cabin crew, then spent the next 21 hours onboard the 737 to reach the minimum resting time before operating the return flight.

SpiceJet 737
Spending 21 hours inside an all-economy Boeing 737 is definitely not an ideal layover for anyone. Photo: Getty Images

However, the cabin of a 737 hardly meets the requirements of adequate resting conditions. Due to this, SpiceJet sought special permission from the DGCA (India’s aviation regulator) to fly the aircraft without meeting the conditions.

The DGCA approved the request but barred the airline from carrying any cargo or passengers on the way home and needed three pilots to be present in the cockpit through the flight. SpiceJet has also reportedly “admonished” by the regulator following this situation.

Crew in focus

Everchanging testing and quarantine requirements have become a headache for travelers globally. However, airline crews have found themselves in focus since they do not usually need to quarantine while operating services. This has led to some pressing issues, including COVID-19 outbreaks recently.

In this case, the crew seems to have been a victim of changing guidelines. However, SpiceJet would have been wise to test their crew before the flight given how many countries require the same. Given India’s severe COVID-19 outbreak, several carriers have been taking drastic measures to prevent their crew from entering India during their layover.

What do you think about crew testing requirements? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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