SPAIN’S struggling tourist sector has been dealt a fresh blow with news today(April 9) that Jet2 has suspended all flights and holidays from the UK until June 23 ‘at least’.
Jet2’s chief executive, Steve Heapy, said that he was ‘extremely disappointed at the lack of clarity’ in British government travel plans announced today.
That involves a ‘traffic-light’ system coding countries in terms of health safety and mandatory COVID testing for travellers.
There will be no indication for up to three weeks over the classification of popular European tourist countries like Spain .
Travel operators say the proposal for costly compulsory COVID tests for people exiting and entering the UK will seriously depress holiday bookings.
Steve Heapy said: “Because of the continued uncertainty that the framework provides, it is with a heavy heart that we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including 23 June.”
“Where customers yet to travel are affected by any programme changes, we will automatically cancel their booking with a full refund, and our team of travel experts will be in touch to help them to book their summer getaway for later in the year.”
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said the plan was ‘a blow to all travellers’ and risked ‘making flying only for the wealthy’.
Speaking to the BBC, the UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “This is the first time I’m able to come on and say I’m not advising against booking foreign holidays.”
“Yes, you’ll want to check what the situation is in two or three weeks’ time when that list – the green, amber, red, is produced – you’ll want to know that you’ve got good holiday insurance and flexible flights and the rest of it.”
Hotel associations on the Costa Blanca last month were not holding out much hope for a May return of UK visitors until some system of travel vaccine passports was put into place.
The ‘traffic-light’ plan makes no mention of that, though Shapps said the system would be ‘reviewed’ on June 28.