Ryanair has slammed the government’s plan for “air bridges” and a “traffic light system” as “more idiotic rubbish” and called for all of the restrictions on the industry to be lifted completely.
The government is set to publish a list of countries that the UK will have “air bridges” with, meaning Britons can holiday abroad in “safe countries” from July 6 without having to enter 14 days quarantine on their return.
While the tourism industry has broadly welcomed the government’s plans to ease restrictions on international travel, Ryanair has savaged the plans.
A spokesperson for the airline said: “The UK Government’s idea of ‘air bridges’ is more idiotic rubbish from a government who can’t operate a ‘form filling’ quarantine or a track and trace system either.”
Quarantine to remain for travel from “high risk” countries
Ryanair – Europe’s most profitable airline before the coronavirus – together with easyJet and British Airways launched legal action when the quarantine period was introduced on June 8, saying it was unworkable, unenforceable and likely to destroy demand during the vital summer season.
Ministers are now expected to scrap the mandatory 14-days quarantine – only brought into effect three weeks ago – for people arriving in the UK from certain countries, which the exclusion remaining for countries deemed “high risk”, while the Foreign Office is set to lift its ban on all but essential travel from July 6.
Travel expert Simon Calder told the BBC that the “traffic light system” will classify “a select group of countries” as safe meaning people holidaying there will not have to quarantine when they return home.
It also means holidaymakers’ travel insurance will be valid because they “will be going [on holiday] with the Foreign Office approval. This will allow, of course, the travel industry to start off again,” said Calder.
Traffic light system for holiday destinations
In a statement released on Friday (June 26) the government said Britain will continue to monitor coronavirus infection levels and will “put on the brakes” if the rate rises in the UK or in one of the “safe countries”.
It would mean the “immediate reintroduction of quarantine” states the Telegraph who report the air bridge scheme could involve up to 50 countries with a “traffic light system” placing countries into green, amber and red categories “based on the prevalence of Covid-19, whether the disease is rising and the reliability of the country’s data.”
The Guardian reports the list of “safe countries has been drawn up by the government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre, working with Public Health England” is likely to include France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turley, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, some Caribbean countries and other island nations deemed “low-risk”.
Brits not welcome in Greece – yet
However, Sweden and Portugal are set to be excluded while Haris Theocharis, the Greek tourism minister told BBC Breakfast this morning (Saturday) that UK holidaymakers may have to wait longer before being allowed to visit his country.
“As soon as we have more clarity, we’ll be able to convey the right dates and the right message so that’s why it’s not easy for me to pinpoint exact dates,” said Theocharis, suggesting it could be up to three weeks before Britain gets green lighted.
“I’m just giving you the feeling of the advice that we get from the experts currently,” he said.