Chief executive of easyJet Johan Lundgren said decision to put Portugal on the ‘amber’ list, affecting flights out of Liverpool, ‘isn’t justified by the science’. Tony McDonough reports
People flying to Portugal from Liverpool will now have to isolate at home for 10 days when they return to the UK after the destination was taken off the ‘green list’.
As of next Tuesday, June 8, Portugal will on the ‘amber’ list. The announcement was made by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Thursday afternoon. The decision was described as a “huge blow” by easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren.
Portugal is a popular destination for UK holidaymakers and easyJet offers a regular service between Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) and Porto, which services the southern Algarve region.
Liverpool Airport will also be dismayed at the announcement. Last week, chief executive John Irving said some flights from the airport were currently taking off with as few as six passengers on board.
He was hoping for better news from the Government today. But now new destinations were added to the green list. He said last week: “The information from the Government is really unhelpful. We have flights going out to some destinations with just six or seven people on them. It’s just not sustainable.”
The UK Government has implemented a traffic light system for overseas travel. Since May 17 people have been able to travel freely to ‘green’ countries with the only requirement being a Government-approved COVID test before you go and when you return.
Anyone returning from an ‘amber’ country must quarantine at home and then have PCR tests on day two and day eight after their return. People returning from ‘red’ countries must quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for 10 days at their own expense as well as having the PCR tests.
Hitting out at the latest decision, Mr Lundgren said: “This shock decision to add Portugal to the amber list is a huge blow to those who are currently in Portugal and those who have booked to be reunited with loved ones, or take a well-deserved break this summer. With Portuguese rates similar to those in the UK it simply isn’t justified by the science.
“And to add no more countries to the Green list when most of Europe’s infection rates are on a downward trend and many places with low infection rates below that of the UK, such as the Balearics with a current rate of 33 in 100,000 and Malta, with just 12 in 100,000, this makes no sense.
“Especially when domestic travel is allowed within the UK, despite a number of cities having infection rates 20 times greater than much of Europe.
“When this framework was put together, consumers were promised a waiting list to allow them to plan. Yet the government has torn up its own rule book and ignored the science, throwing peoples’ plans.”