MAG welcomes back passengers at its three airports under new traffic light system

The group is urging the government to expand its ‘green list’ countries under the new regulations

Manchester Airport Group (MAG) welcomed back passengers yesterday (May 17) at its three hubs for the first time in almost a year, as international travel resumed under the new guidelines.

Flights are now able to commence to 12 ‘green list’ countries according to the government’s new traffic light system.

A service between Manchester and Portugal restarted on Monday, with a 6am Ryanair flight to Madeira.

MAG Airports
Photo MAG

Over the course of last week, the northern hub has seen an increase in services as airlines are preparing to meet expected demand.

East Midlands Airport operated its first commercial flight in six months yesterday, after halting operations due to the government’s travel restrictions. The first flight to leave the base was a Ryanair service to Faro, Portugal.

Charlie Cornish, the CEO of MAG, has marked the reopening as a “symbolic moment after the most difficult year in our history”.

He said: “The resumption of international travel is of course an important milestone as coronavirus restrictions ease across the UK. However, with so few countries on the green list, this is not the broader restart our sector or our passengers were hoping for.”

Cornish stressed that more needs to be done to expand the number of destinations currently available.

“This big step forward would recognise the scientific evidence which shows that vaccinations, and the effective use of testing, can support safe travel to a much larger group of low-risk countries than was announced on May 7.”

Safety measures remain in place in line with the current regulations, such as enhanced cleaning, sanitising stations and mandatory face coverings.

The government has stated that documentation checks will become more thorough when arriving in the UK, therefore some delays are expected.

Duty free has also reopened at Manchester and London Stansted, as well as many hospitality outlets. Retail services at the East Midlands hub will remain temporarily closed.