UK-based Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has revealed the impact of passenger volumes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Manchester Airports Group, the owner of Manchester (MAN), London Stansted (STN) and East Midlands (EMA) airports, urged for restriction-free travel to aid air travel recovery, as passenger numbers dropped by 90% across during the initial 12 months of the pandemic.

The airport group noted that a roadmap on restriction-free travel should be based on the cooperation between the UK Government and its counterparts to share information regarding the new Covid-19 variants.

This information helps to eliminate the need for travellers to take expensive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on their return.

According to the UK Government’s latest proposal, now all passengers, including those returning from the lowest risk ‘green’ destinations, are required to take a PCR test, which will help to gather information to help in genomic sequencing.

Manchester Airports Group stated that passengers could avoid taking the expensive PCR tests if governments would have worked together on sharing and sequencing the data regarding the new variants.

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The new Covid-19 test requirement for travel is part of the Global Travel Taskforce’s (GTT) ‘traffic light’ framework, which helps to categorise countries as red, amber or green depending on the risk associated with visiting them.

Manchester Airports Group CEO Charlie Cornish said: “The requirement to complete a PCR test on return from even the safest countries adds potentially unnecessary cost and the government’s attention must now turn to find smarter and more affordable ways to manage the risk posed by new variants of concern.

“This should be achieved by forging ever-closer partnerships with key markets and developing transparent ways of sharing data into these variants so they can be effectively contained.”