COVID-19 Travel News: When Will Flights to and from the UK Resume?

With the Delta variant of COVID-19 placing a huge impact on most parts of the world in recent times, it has been a tough time for airway sectors and the tourism industry, as well as for people who are planning a summer vacation elsewhere outside of the UK. However, thanks to the vaccination process speeding up in the UK and many parts of the world, it is possible to see borders are beginning to open up and more international flights to and from the UK are allowed to resume in the near future. 

when will international flights resume uk

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For residents in the UK, the good news is non-essential travels are now permitted in the region (the UK and the Common Travel Area) and to some countries in the world where the situation of COVID-19 is under control. However, to limit the spread of any COVID-19 variant, the UK government has classified specific destinations with the traffic-light system: green, amber and red. This system works as a COVID-19 guide for passengers who wish to enter England from abroad. The same rules are applied for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This list is reviewed every three weeks, you can see the full list of countries and guidance from the Department for Transport here

Green – countries with a minimal risk

Arrivals to England must:

  • Fill in a passenger locator form
  • Take a pre-departure test
  • Book a COVID-19 test from a government-approved provider before travel
  • Take a PCR test on or before day 2 of arrival
  • Passengers don’t need to quarantine or take any further tests if the test is negative.

Amber – countries with a moderate risk

Arrivals to England must:

* arrivals from amber list countries can use test to release on day 5 to end quarantine early

Red – countries with a high risk

Arrivals to England must:

  • Fill in a passenger locator form (including details of your quarantine package)
  • Take a pre-departure test and get a negative result three days before travel
  • Book a quarantine package – including a managed quarantine hotel, quarantine transport and also the travel test package – from a government-approved provider before travel
  • Quarantine for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel
  • Take a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 of your return (with no option for early release)

This article from CabinZero is an overview of the current situation on international flights to and from the UK, and what to note if you’re planning a trip abroad this summer. 

Can I Travel Within the UK?

At the moment, it is permitted for residents in the UK (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales), Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to go on holidays within the UK and the Common Travel Area with separate restrictions. These travels are allowed in self-catering accommodations, B&Bs and hotels with permitted numbers of people indoors and outdoors depending on where you are travelling to. Details about the up-to-date information on the current situation, accommodations in the area as well as exceptions can be found on the Government website. 

when will flights resume from uk

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Read more: Can I Travel Within the UK During COVID-19?

Important Dates on International Travel for UK residents

    • 17 May - travelling abroad became possible again. The UK Government has announced a traffic-light system where countries are graded as red, amber or green for Coronavirus and there are rules you need to follow to enter England. 
    • June 25 - Transport Minister Grant Shapps released the news that later this summer, UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to isolate themselves when travelling from amber list countries. And on the same day, it was also confirmed that Madeira, the Balearic Islands, several UK Overseas Territories and Caribbean Islands (including Barbados) were added to the green list and green watchlist. Israel & Jerusalem were also added to the green watchlist.
    • July 19 - UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when they return from amber list countries (apart from France, due to a large number of Beta variant cases there). The government has also lifted their advice on those who want to travel to amber list countries for leisure or visit families.

    Travelling to the UK: When Will International Flights to the UK Resume?

    Follow the Foreign Travel Advice (choose a country and go under the Coronavirus section) from the UK Government website to find more about whether flights from a specific country to the UK have been resumed, and guidance on COVID-19 travel restrictions, quarantine regulations and entry requirements. Here are some countries that have resumed flights to the UK:

    India

    Currently, all regularly international flights between the UK and India remain suspended, only a limited number of flights are allowed to operate. 

    The US

    Only commercial flight options from the US to the UK are permitted. 

    Hong Kong 

    May 8 marked the date that direct flights from Hong Kong were resumed. People who wish to return to the UK have to quarantine for 21 days, which means they need to have proof of a hotel reservation for the mandatory 21-day quarantine and a negative COVID-19 test result taken 72 hours before the flight.

    Russia

    Good news for those who have been waiting for the borders to be opened between Russia and the UK, now direct flights have resumed between the two countries.

    Qatar

    Direct flights have resumed between England and Qatar for British, Irish nationals and those with residency rights in the UK. However, all flights must arrive at dedicated terminals at Heathrow and Birmingham airports. 

    Travelling Abroad from the UK: When Will International Flights from the UK Resume?

    In some parts of the world, international flights for visitors are re-open with certain restrictions for COVID-19 travel, whereas the rest of the world only allow their residents to enter, or border-closed. Make sure you always check with your travel agent, airway sector or information from the government to keep up-to-date with the latest information. 

    International flights to some European countries still remain suspended, and passengers from the UK can only enter for essential reasons. However, some countries like Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, etc. are open for UK visitors with different entry requirements and quarantine restrictions. 

    Borders are still close for North American countries, only those who travel for commercial or essential reasons are considered to be allowed to enter Canada, the US and Mexico. UK nationals with a US visa who wish to return to the UK might be denied to re-enter the US where there travel restrictions.

    UK nationals can travel to most of Central and South America with proof of negative COVID test and you must take the test regularly while you’re there. However, many nations of this region are on the red list - meaning you will have to go through very complicated procedures if you wish to re-enter England. 

    when will flights resume uk

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    Most Southeast Asian countries are closed for international flights due to the rapid spread of the new variant. Some Asian countries are open for UK travellers with proof of negative COVID test and quarantine procedures. Make sure you check with your travel agent before planning your trip to Asia. 

    From Thursday, 1 July, passengers flights to Hong Kong from the UK will be banned due to new regulations preventing the spreading of the new variant. People who have been in the UK for longer than a 2-hour transit will no longer be permitted to land in Hong Kong. 

    South Africa, Madagascar and Malawi are some African countries that are not open for international travellers at the moment, while Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco are re-open with certain restrictions. 

    Most of the countries in the South Pacific like New Zealand and Australia remain closed, while some countries in the Caribbean have been open for visitors like Aruba, Barbados and the British Virgin Islands. 

    International Flights: Check with Your Airlines before Planning any Trip

    Whether you are taking direct or transition flights, all airlines will inform you of their COVID-19 travel requirements that you will need to note carefully. 

    uk flights resume

    Photo by Isaac Struna on Unsplash

    The full guide on entry requirements, COVID tests, visas, etc. can be found on their website. Before you plan your trip to or from the UK, make sure you check all the requirements and keep yourself updated on the airline that you’re flying with. For example, if you are flying with British Airways, find out more on their website here

    While countries are still affected by COVID-19 and the new coronavirus variant, it is positive to see that travelling is opening up in some parts of the world, and there are more international flights to and from the UK with the help of vaccinations. Do you have any plans to travel this summer? Share with us your thoughts in the comment section below. 

     

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