End of border test restrictions spells better times ahead for the travel industry

Test requirements end in Ireland and England this week

Paradoxically the more dominant the Omicron variant of the virus has become, the more redundant restrictions on the travel sector to halt its spread have looked.

Now that the variant is everywhere it’s pointless trying to keep it out at borders with demand-destroying PCR tests for inbound travellers.

The scrapping of Ireland's Omicron travel rules from today (Thursday) will be a boon for companies such as Ryanair and Irish Continental Group (ICG), the owner of Irish Ferries.

This was reflected in share prices on Wednesday – Ryanair was up 1 per cent, after a jump of more than 5 per cent on Tuesday as soon as markets opened, as investors anticipated a relaxation of travel rules here and also in the UK. ICG’s shares rose more than 1.8 per cent in Dublin on Wednesday.


Meanwhile, the share price of Aer Lingus’s parent, IAG, spiked more than 10 per cent on Tuesday morning.

It is believed that the border travel rules had an immediate dampening effect on travel that cost airlines up to 30 per cent of their traffic. England has now followed Ireland by scrapping its border test requirements from Friday. Assuming Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland’s rules all align with England’s, there may be more favourable times ahead for the industry.

Could the worst of the pandemic now be over for the travel sector?

Many in the sector will dare to hope, although the virus that causes Covid-19 has a habit of dashing such hopes for fun. But for only the second time since the pandemic began Europe’s aviation and travel sectors appear set for several months of stability once the Omicron peak passes.

Let's hope it lasts longer than the first period of respite, which ran from the introduction of the European Union Covid certs last July until Omicron upended everything at the start of December.