UK travel industry 'furious' at green list update says Calder
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The travel industry was served some good news on Thursday, with the news 16 more nations including the Balearic Islands, Malta, Madeira and some Caribbean islands were to go onto the green list. While the latest green list boost may have been modest, it has sparked positivity from airlines who are set to ramp up capacity to some of the most popular destinations Britons can now fly to.
Here are the latest updates from Jet2, easyJet, TUI, Ryanair and British Airways.
Jet2 is set to recommence flights from July 1, 2021. Flights to Jersey with the Leeds-based operator have already resumed.
In response to the latest green list update, Jet2 has added 70 extra flights to Malta and Madeira to their summer flight programme.
This includes a new route to Malta from London Stansted.
The airline’s CEO Steve Heapy described the move as “a step in the right direction”.
In a statement following the latest traffic light review, Mr Heapy said: “We have been urging the UK Government to stay true to their word and follow the scientific evidence when it comes to making decisions about international travel, so today’s announcement is an overdue but welcome step in the right direction.
“We believe other destinations should still be added to the green list, however, what this demonstrates is that the Government is firmly committed to reopening international travel and we commend that approach.
“This is fantastic news for our customers who want nothing more than to get away for a much-needed holiday.
“Now that we have some clarity about where we can fly to, our focus is on getting everything ready for the restart of our international flights and holidays from July 1.”
As Turkey remains on the red list, Jet2 is not planning to resume holidays to the destination until July 22 at the earliest.
It notes this will be kept “under review in line with further Government updates.”
Following the latest traffic light review, easyJet has boosted its flight offering with an additional 50,000 extra seats on sale throughout the summer.
However, airline bosses are calling for more travel to be opened up.
Two new routes from Bristol and Malta are set to operate twice weekly throughout the summer.
“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,” said easyJet’s CEO, Johan Lundgren.
“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 July 19, now is the time to let British citizens take advantage of the success of the vaccination programme.
“The timetable set out by the Government simply isn’t ambitious enough. What are we waiting for? The apps are in place and airlines are ready to go so we urge the Government to move more quickly and remove both quarantine and testing for fully vaccinated people.”
easyJet is allowing all customers to change their travel plans without incurring a fee up to 28 days before travel.
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TUI has described the latest traffic light review as a “small step in the right direction”.
The airline is continuing its flexible booking policies for customers until the end of October.
It is also offering subsidised testing packages for those jetting off to green list countries.
TUI’s managing director, Andrew Flintham said: “We will continue to support our customers who are looking to go away this summer with our flexible booking polices, with free changes allowed 14 days before travel for anyone due to depart before the end of October, as well as our subsidised testing packages from just £20 for green destinations.”
The TUI boss was left disappointed at the lack of clarity over when fully vaccinated travellers can fly without quarantine.
Mr Flintham, said: “The latest announcement is the first very small step in the right direction.
“We still believe international travel can be restarted safely in a more meaningful way by taking advantage of our incredible vaccination programme.
“We’re disappointed that the timelines to introduce the removal of quarantine for amber list destinations for those that are double vaccinated are vague, and are surprised to see that other popular destinations, like the Canary and Greek Islands, are not on the green list.
“We still look to the government for transparency of how data and methodology is being applied when placing countries on the green, green watchlist and amber list so that we can plan our operations and support our customers.”
In response to the addition of Malta and the Balearics to the green list, Ryanair has added an additional 200,000 extra seats from the UK to Malta, Ibiza and Palma from July to September.
Echoing other airlines, a spokesperson from the Irish carrier described the more as “a small step in the right direction.”
They said: “While we welcome the addition of Malta and the Balearics to the UK’s green list, this is simply not enough for a country where over 60 percent of the adult population is now fully vaccinated.
“Boris Johnson’s Govt still won’t explain what scientific data they’ve applied to their decision making on the traffic light system which is very confusing for airlines and consumers.”
Ryanair is also calling for more nations to be added to the green list.
“We urge the UK Govt to immediately add Cyprus, the Canaries and the Greek Islands to the green list as the rest of Europe has done, and to immediately allow fully vaccinated UK and EU citizens travel freely to/from the EU without all these unnecessary and useless travel restrictions,” added the spokesperson.
Ryanair continues to allow up to two fee-free changes on all new bookings made before September 30, 2021, for travel before December 31, 2021.
British Airways has continued to offer a “reduced and dynamic” service throughout the pandemic, though has boosted some of its flight offering in recent months.
The airline says it is working in line with Government travel advice.
Though the British flag-bearer welcomes the latest green list announcement, it admits more needs to be done to get travel back on its feet.
In a statement, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, Sean Doyle’s, said: “While we welcome the additions to the green list, it’s essential we get travel back up and running as soon as possible. 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.
“The plans to allow vaccinated travellers to move freely this summer are critical and we would urge Government to work urgently with the aviation industry to get this in place.
“We would also like to understand whether this means our customers will benefit from reduced or eradicated costly testing procedures.
“A change in the official FCDO advice to allow people to travel to amber list countries will be critical to the success of this plan.”
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