THE boss of Leeds Bradford Airport has welcomed the government's travel restriction changes, but warned there may be more months or years before airports reach sustainable levels of passengers due to uncertainty over international travel.

Restrictions were eased or limited for people arriving in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from several countries from 4am today.

Fully-vaccinated travellers are now exempt from quarantine when returning from France, Spain has kept its place on the amber list, and India is among four countries being removed from the red list.

Seven nations have been added to the quarantine-free green list, including Germany, Austria and Norway.

The Yeadon airport says its staff and partners at LBA are well prepared for the increase in arrivals and departures.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Leeds Bradford Airport Leeds Bradford Airport

It has taken the opportunity to upgrade the check-in and baggage facilities, particularly for the Jet2 operation, have enhanced our taxiways and runway, and have ensured that all staff returning from furlough have been fully retrained.

LBA's operating procedures have been updated in line with the latest government guidance to ensure staff and passenger safety.

The airport have also added additional customer amenities like an upgraded Ritazza coffee and a new Greggs outlet airside to its site.

Vincent Hodder, LBA chief executive, says more needs to be done for the aviation industry as it looks to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

He said: “The latest Government announcement on green and amber list countries is a positive step, but there is still much to be done on providing clear messaging and instilling confidence for prospective passengers.

"Like many sectors, aviation and travel has been impacted on a global scale due to the pandemic.

"There remains uncertainty around international travel, which could mean many more months or even years before our airports begin to reach sustainable volumes of passengers.

"Many other closed sectors that have now been able to reopen have benefited from enhanced support beyond the job retention scheme over the last year.

"In the short term, aviation also needs that essential support to sustain cash flow and protect jobs as well as greater certainty for our passengers on their ability to travel without restrictions.

"We must not lose sight of the important role that aviation will play in the Government’s levelling up agenda and how buoyancy in aviation can aid regional economic recoveries, now and in the future, as well as our long term connectivity.”

Meanwhile, Tony Mann, director of Idle Travel, based at Morrisons Shopping Complex at Five Lane Ends, also welcomed yesterday's changes to the travel lists and hopes it will breathe more confidence into people looking to book a trip abroad over the next few weeks.

But Bradford West MP called for more and last week wrote to the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps asking why Pakistan has not been removed from the red list for overseas travel.

In the Government's most recent changes to travel restrictions, India has been moved to the amber list, while Pakistan remains on the red list.

In the letter, Ms Shah said: "India's seven-day infection rate is 20 per 100,000 people and is now on the amber list but Pakistan, whose seven-day infection rate is just 14 per 100,000 - well below the vast majority of amber list destinations, remains on the red list.

"Minister, I urge you to urgently reconsider your decision to leave Pakistan on the red list whilst Covid rates are much lower than many of those on the amber list."