‘Much simpler’: Ryanair boss praises new travel rules – but gives warning for tourists

Michael O'Leary gets confused over Portugal travel rules

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Grant Shapps released updated travel regulations on Friday, which scrapped the traffic light system. Although the rules from the UK are now simplified, other countries in the EU have their own regulations and it seems even the airlines are unsure.

Appearing on Sky with Kay Burley, Michael O’Leary, Ryanair CEO confused the requirements for British tourists to enter Portugal.

He said: “Look, the information out there if you’re travelling in the EU is fundamentally simple.

“The guiltiest party was the UK with the traffic light system with four sets of lights instead of three.

“That’s all been removed. It’s now fundamentally simple, if you’re vaccinated, travelling within the EU there is almost no restrictions.”

But Kay Burley pointed out that Portugal will require vaccinated Brits to present a negative antigen test on arrival.

O’Leary said: “I don’t think you do.” But then backed down and said he would “defer to your greater knowledge”.

Kay said she was aware of the tough Portugal rules as she is travelling there soon for a holiday.

O’Leary said that “It may be different for the UK”. But he said travel within the EU would be much simpler for vaccinated travellers now.

Kay mentioned a recent Which? survey that found airline providers often gave the wrong advice on testing requirements.

O’Leary said: “I never believe anything that comes out of Which? magazine which is generally all about promoting Which?”

The Ryanair CEO was cautiously optimistic about the travel industry and holidays for Britains.

He said: “I think the strongest signal sent to the UK market was two weeks ago when finally scrapped that useless traffic light system and replaced it with a much simpler system of you’re vaccinated, no restrictions, you’re not vaccinated, get a negative PCR.”

Jet2holidays and other providers have also reported an increase in traveller confidence as the restrictions were relaxed.

O’Leary advised travellers to book early for Christmas holidays as he said demand was high.

He said: “I would urge people- book early now for Christmas, because it looks like Christmas is going to be a bumper time for travel. To get the lower prices book early.”

He added that bookings were up for October half-term: “We’re seeing extraordinary bookings for the mid-term break, all our flights to Spain, Italy, Greece were filling up very rapidly.

“We added 300 extra flights to Faro, to the Canaries, to the Balearics just two weeks ago and most of those flights are already sold out as well.

“So I think we’re seeing this pent up demand returning very quickly.”

The Ryanair CEO added that customers would still be expected to wear face masks on flights and in airports.

He said all the “signs were good” for holiday but said it would depend on “new Covid variants”.

O’Leary added: “We want to get everyone back to work and we enjoy looking after our passengers.”

Anyone booking a holiday abroad is advised to check local restrictions and entry regulations before travellling.

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