The UK government has announced which countries English holiday-makers will be able to visit without quarantining on their return, those on the so-called green list, amid projections of steady improvement in jet fuel uptake later in the year.
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The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments have not said when they will ease their travel restrictions.
Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel are among only 12 countries or territories on the green list, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a press conference May 7.
Some of the others are Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, Faroe Islands and the Falkland Islands. Many popular European destinations including Greece, France, Spain and Italy are on the amber list, the government said in a press release.
Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal have been added to the red list, Shapps said. Countries on each of the lists will be reviewed every three weeks, he added.
The categories are based on a traffic light system, with countries rated green, amber or red based on their COVID-19 risk. They will come into effect May 17.
Travelers to countries rated green will not need to quarantine on their return but they will need to take a COVID-19 test before and after their trip.
Arrivals from amber countries will need to isolate, while red-list countries must pay for a 10-day stay in a government quarantine hotel.
Irrespective of the UK's decision, some countries, like Malta, will not open their borders to foreign tourists until June and others, including Israel, will be open only to fully-vaccinated tourists.
London's announcement comes after International Consolidated Airlines Group -- the owner of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling - said May 6 it plans to fly around 25% of 2019 passenger capacity in the second quarter of 2021, up from 19.6% of 2019 capacity in the first quarter of 2021.
Global air traffic is still impaired by 34% relative to pre-pandemic levels, namely Dec. 15, 2019-Jan. 15, 2020 and this remains tightly aligned with jet fuel consumption, S&P Global Platts Analytics said May 6.
SLOW RECOVERY FOR JET
The UK opening borders for non-essential travel will have only a small impact and most likely very little before June, amid high stocks, sources said.
"The European jet market is likely to remain a bit depressed in the next couple of months and then pick up," a jet trader told Platts on May 7. "Suppliers of jet into Europe are cautious at the moment, they don't know how much jet airlines will need," he added.
"Our forecast of kero/jet demand is for slow normalization over the remainder of 2021, with impairment, currently -35%, lessening to -8% by end-year," Platts Analytics analysts said.
International traffic, currently down 56%, will see its impairment lessen to 38% in December 2021, while December 2022 lessens further to 20%. Domestic traffic, currently down by 26% from pre-pandemic norms, will see impairment lessen to of 15% in December 2021, and of 5% in December 2022, the analysts said.
Physical premiums of CIF NWE jet fuel cargoes over dated Brent were assessed at a $23.25/mt premium over the front-month ICE low-sulfur gasoil future on May 7, up from a $22.25/mt premium the previous day, and still a long way from pre-pandemic level of a premium of around $40/mt in January 2020. Due to the collapse in air travel last year, CIF NWE jet fuel cargoes plunged to a discount of $88/mt to the front-month ICE LSGO on April 8, 2020, Platts data showed.