UK airports call on Britain to exclude Spanish islands from quarantine policy

Guests wear protective face masks as they stand inside the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel, which is under lockdown over the coronavirus outbreak in Adeje
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LONDON (Reuters) - A trade association representing British airports called on the government to drop the need for holidaymakers to quarantine for two weeks after returning from Spain's Balearic and Canary Islands, warning of a further hit to the beleaguered sector.

A total of 15% of flights leaving Britain in August last year were destined for the islands, carrying just under 2.4 million people, the Airport Operators Association (AOA) said on Monday.

"The government must look urgently at introducing air bridges on a regional basis which would allow travel to islands such as Lanzarote, Majorca and Tenerife, where infection rates are lower, to continue," said AOA Chief Executive Karen Dee.

"UK airports have already lost around 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) since the start of the pandemic and this announcement reinforces the fragile nature of the industry," she said.

Last year, Britons made up over a fifth of foreign visitors to Spain, which relies heavily on tourism revenues, and the government there has said it is focussing its efforts on trying to persuade London to exclude the islands from its quarantine plans.

Britain has defended the decision as a response to a jump in infections.

($1 = 0.7756 pounds)

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by William James)

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