TRAVEL bosses have reacted with fury at the UK government’s changes to travel plans as the Balearic Islands become the ONLY part of Spain to make the green list.
Grant Shapps announced last night that the Balearic islands – Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca – along with Madeira, Grenada, Barbados, and Bermuda have all been downgraded from amber to green.
Meanwhile mainland Spain, as well as Portugal, Italy and France, were all snubbed from the green list.
As part of the traffic light system introduced in May, UK holidaymakers are able to travel to countries on the green list without being forced into quarantine for 10 days when arriving back on British soil.
Last night the Transport Secretary also said the Government will allow those who are double-jabbed to holiday in amber list countries without having to quarantine on their return – but this rule is not likely to come in until July at the earliest.
But the announcements drew criticism from airline bosses who slammed the changes for ‘not going far enough’.
Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, told the BBC: “We cannot afford another missed summer. There are jobs at stake, Britons separated from family members and we cannot afford to allow the success of our vaccine programme to be wasted.”
EasyJet agreed, and complained that the new measures are ‘simply not ambitious enough’.
In response to the update, easyJet’s CEO, Johan Lundgren, said: “While we welcome the addition of Malta, Madeira and the Balearics to the Green list, this is still not the safe and sustainable reopening of travel the Government promised.
“This limited reopening is not justified by the data.
“The science shows that travel to many European countries would have very little impact on hospitalisation and this is even more the case now given that Covid cases in Europe have declined, with many countries having lower infection rates than the UK. We will be adding additional flights to these destinations to take as many people away as we can.”
“With two thirds of UK adults expected to be double jabbed by 19 July, now is the time to let British citizens take advantage of the success of the vaccination programme.
Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic chief Shai Weiss criticised the decision to leave the US on the UK’s amber list, and said: “Today’s announcement fails to go far enough.”
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said the move was ‘a step in the right direction’.
In response, Jet2 have added 70 additional flights, and easyJet has added 50,000 extra seats for their summer flight programme.
Prices of tourist hot spots such as Ibiza have tripled within less than 24 hours of the government’s announcement.
The cost of heading to Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Malta surged by up to 200% after they were added to the quarantine-free areas.
Tickets for a return flight to Ibiza on July 3 and July 10 leaped from £149 to £314 while journeys on the same days to Mallorca jumped from £153 to £478.
The rest of Spain, including the Canary Islands, remain on the amber list, which means UK travellers will have to quarantine for 10 days on their return home.
The rules for UK nationals returning from a green list country are that they have to take a PCR test before departure which produces a negative result.
A PCR test also has to be booked for the second day after returning to the UK and a Passenger Locator Form also has to be filled in.
There is no quarantine required unless the ‘second day’ test produces a positive result.
Travellers from amber list countries have the same rules as for green, but with a 10-day quarantine period and an additional PCR test required on day nine.
Yesterday’s news over the green list effectively knocks out any significant UK travel to the Spanish mainland and the Canary Islands for July and will already raise early question marks over August.
Attempts by Spanish government officials to try to get ‘low infection’ mainland areas like the Valencian Community onto the Green list have been dismissed as being ‘unpractical’.
- Balearic Islands added to Northern Ireland’s green travel list
- EXPLAINED: Spain’s new entry rules for vaccinated or COVID-19 immune travellers
- EXPLAINER: What Spain’s ‘amber’ classification on UK travel list means for travellers