'It means the world': families and friends reunite at UK's Heathrow

By Ben Makori

LONDON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - The boss of London's Heathrow Airport told Britain on Monday to rebuild confidence in travel by making it easier to go abroad, as speculation grew that the government was poised to slap yet more new rules on arrivals.

Britain reopened its borders to large parts of the world on Monday, scrapping quarantine for fully vaccinated arrivals from the European Union and the United States, in a boost for airlines and travel companies brought to their knees by the pandemic.

But just as families and business travellers arrived at airports like London Heathrow, the industry faced a new headache over potential COVID-19 warnings against holidays to Spain.

Heathrow's chief executive called on the government not to throw new barriers in the way of travel just as it finds its feet again.

"Let's just make it easier now for people to travel," he told Reuters in the arrivals hall.

"I think we just need to keep things simple. We need to build confidence in travel."

Heathrow, like many airports and airlines across the world, is forecasting that it will be two to three years before travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Britain has one of the fastest vaccination programmes in the world but the government has prevented the travel industry from bouncing back because of its maze of different rules and last minute changes blocking trips to certain countries.

In the latest twist, The Times reported on Monday that the government plans to warn holidaymakers against visiting Spain, Britain's most popular holiday destination because of concerns about COVID-19 there.

Spain could go on a new category of risk for travel, the "amber watchlist", meaning it could be upgraded to "red" at short notice, with arrivals having to quarantine in hotels.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Ben Makori; Writing by Sarah Young, Editing by Kate Holton

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