Airline and airport leaders issued a stark warning to European governments on the impact of their “inconsistent approach to travel restrictions” today.

In a letter to heads of government, transport, health and home affairs ministers across Europe, airline and airport associations demanded a switch to localised restrictions on travel “not blanket country bans” and called for quarantine to be used “as a very last resort”.

The letter, sent by the Airlines for Europe (A4E) group, Iata and airports’ association ACI Europe, warned restrictions were “hampering consumer confidence . . . at the height of the peak summer season [and] slowing down the recovery”.

It criticised the measures imposed by governments, including the UK quarantine on travellers from Spain, suggesting the restrictions are “inconsistent with the principles laid out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)”.

The associations wrote: “Despite repeated calls for a science-based, harmonised and coordinated approach to restrictions, differing national approaches have emerged.

“These unilateral national measures further damage consumer confidence [and] fail to take into account other options governments have”.

They urged the UK and EU states “to reconsider restrictions including quarantines” and called for urgent efforts to align responses at an EU level and “in close co-operation with the UK”.

The letter notes: “The latest developments have motivated a number of states to re-instate travel restrictions vis-à-vis selected countries.

“Such actions are not consistent with the advice and recommendations of the ECDC and WHO.

“The ECDC expressly states that it does not consider travel restrictions within and to the Schengen [area] as an efficient way to reduce transmissions since community transmission is already taking place.

“Further, these restrictions are different in scope and content. They have been established based on different criteria.

“This is hampering consumer confidence. Coming at the height of the peak summer season, these restrictions are slowing down the recovery in air traffic and the restoration of air connectivity.”

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