I think it’s fair to say that when it comes to the matter of flying, governments are presently all over the place. And I don’t just mean the British government, with its precious traffic-lights system. There was much joy last week when, for example, restrictions on visitors flying from the UK to the Balearic Islands were eased. Madeira and Malta likewise. But with cases of covid in the UK currently rising faster than anywhere in mainland Europe, albeit with comparatively underwhelming consequences because of the success of the vaccine roll-out, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, respective heads of government in Germany and France, want to see a united EU approach to travellers from the UK, imposing a period of quarantine for any arrival from here.
Boris Johnson is set to have a meeting with Merkel on Friday to try to dissuade her from this course of action. And her position is not welcomed throughout the EU. The Greek prime minister said last week that countries like Germany and France should be working on “accelerating the vaccinations” rather than preferring to restrict British tourists. But then, as with Spain but unlike Germany and France, British tourism is a big deal for that country’s economy. I think we can all agree the situation is something of a mess, though. At least affairs closer to home might ensure that Matt Hancock sits out the debate on this one next time around.
In other matters, it was reported last week that American Airlines (see photo on the home page) have lately had to cancel hundreds of flights because of staff shortages. In common with most operators, they were forced to lay off thousands of staff at the peak of the pandemic and they are now trying to play catch-up. That’s going to take some time. Given the confusion in Europe, which is likely to get worse before it improves, the situation on this side of the Atlantic is likely to be no better.