The UK’s Covid travel response has been slammed as a “shambles” by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary.
Europe’s largest budget carrier criticised prime minister Boris Johnson’s mismanagement of the pandemic.
The airline pointed to the removal of Portugal from the green list for quarantine-free international travel after just two weeks “without any material” change in Covid case numbers in the country.
Meanwhile, Malta with higher vaccine rates and lower case numbers than the UK, still has not been moved to the green list.
The delay the final lifting of lockdown for a further month to July 19, “is again not supported by the epidemiological position in the UK”.
Ryanair group chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “The UK’s Covid travel policy is a shambles.
“The green list is non-existent because countries such as Malta and Portugal, with lower Covid case numbers than the UK and rapidly rising vaccination rates, remain on amber.
“Meanwhile, UK citizens almost 80% of whom will be vaccinated by the end of June, continue to face Covid restrictions on travel to and from the European Union, despite the fact that the majority of the European Union citizens will also be vaccinated by the end of June.”
He called for a “pragmatic travel policy” which permits vaccinated UK and EU citizens to travel between the UK and the EU without the need for quarantine or negative PCR tests.
“This will at least allow the UK tourism industry to plan for what is left of the summer season and get hundreds of thousands of people back to work,” O’Leary added.
“It is time for Boris Johnson to end his gross mismanagement of Covid and the recovery from Covid, and take advantage of the UK’s successful vaccine programme to allow the restoration of free movement of vaccinated UK citizens and their families to and from the EU, where Covid case rates are lower than the UK and vaccination rates are rising rapidly”.