The decision to move Portugal to the amber travel category has no basis in public health or medical science, Ryanair claims.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary condemned the move as Europe’s largest airline joined rivals in attacking the switch of the country from green in the government’s traffic light system governing international travel.
Ryanair also called for other islands, such as the Balearics and the Canaries, to be immediately added to the UK green list, when their Covid case rates running at approximately 30 per 100,000, are “considerably lower” than UK case rates.
“Boris Johnson’s government is again mismanaging the Covid recovery,” O’Leary said.
“This stop-go-stop approach to short-haul travel in Europe is inexplicable and unjustified when 75% of the UK population has now received a Covid vaccine. There is no medical or public health reason for moving Portugal from the green to the amber list, when its Covid case rates are as low as the UK at just 50 per 100,000 population, and Portugal’s vaccine rollout programme has exceeded 40% and is rapidly catching up with UK levels.
“UK citizens who have already booked travel to Portugal deserve an explanation why vaccinated UK citizens are required to quarantine when returning from a country which has similarly low Covid case rates as the UK.
“Transport minister Shapps should also explain why those countries such as Malta, or islands such as the Balearics and the Canaries, who have significantly lower Covid case rates than the UK, have not been added to the UK green list to allow UK families a well-earned holiday in June, July and August, particularly when thise UK families have already been vaccinated.
“This is sadly further evidence that the Johnson government just makes it up as they go along, and this stop-go-stop approach to international travel is damaging for the UK and for millions of UK families.
“Ryanair calls today on Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps to immediately return Portugal to the green list and add those other low risk destinations such as Malta, the Balearics and the Canary Islands, so that British families can plan their holidays for summer 2021 without being repeatedly disrupted and mismanaged by Boris Johnson and his chaotic government administration.”