THE boss of the company which owns Bournemouth Airport has welcomed the government's new coronavirus testing strategy for international arrivals and business rates relief for airports

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced travellers arriving in England will be able to end their quarantine period with a negative coronavirus test after five days from December 15.

Under the new rules, passengers who arrive from a destination not on the Government’s travel corridors list will still need to enter self-isolation. But they can reduce the 14-day period by paying for a test from a private firm on or after day five at a cost of £65-£120.

Andrew Bell, chief executive of Regional & City Airports – which owns four airports including Bournemouth, said: “These announcements are a much-needed boost as aviation looks to bounce back from the greatest challenge it has ever faced, with regional airports having been amongst the hardest-hit sectors by the pandemic.

“A robust test-and-release system will boost the safe restart of international travel and increase consumer confidence. We welcome the work of the Global Travel Taskforce and look forward to building on this big step forward by working together on the next phases of pre-departure tests and the use of cheaper and faster testing methods to make international travel ever easier and ultimately eliminate any need for quarantine altogether."

The Government also announced that it will introduce new financial support for English airports and ground handling firms in the new year.

“We are pleased the Government has listened to our calls for business rates relief for airports," added Mr Bell. "The measures announced today will provide much-needed support and we will continue to lobby hard and work with Government on what other steps can be taken to safeguard the UK’s regional airports.”