Irish low-cost airline Ryanair announced yesterday that it was increasing its capacity on flights to Portugal from the United Kingdom after the popular European destination made it on to the UK’s “Green List” of countries deemed safe to visit. The Dublin-based carrier said that it was adding 175,000 seats on flights to Portugal over the summer. The move follows UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announcement that UK citizens and residents could visit Portugal without quarantine on their return home.
After managing COVID-19 in the United Kingdom following an impressive rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the UK is hesitant to let people travel to what it considers high-risk areas. The fear is that anyone visiting countries with high incident rates risks them bringing new strains of the virus back to the UK. To combat this, the government has come up with a three-tier system based on a traffic light color.
The traffic light system
Depending on vaccination rates and how well countries are doing in controlling the rate of COVID-19 infections determines whether or not they will be green, amber, or red. People visiting countries that are green will not need to quarantine on their return to the UK.
People visiting amber countries will need to quarantine at home for ten days when returning to the UK. Anyone returning from a country listed as being red (high risk) must quarantine for ten days in a government-approved hotel at their own expense. All vacationers will be required to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before leaving and returning to the UK, sparking concerns that international travel may only be available to those who can afford the tests.
Several countries that were expected to be on the green list that are popular destinations with British holidaymakers, France, Italy, and Spain, did not make it but might be added when reviewed in three weeks. Countries on the UK green list include the following:
- New Zealand
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands
- St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, and Ascension Island
Faro is a popular beach destination
As you can see from the above list, Portugal and perhaps Gibraltar are the most accessible destinations for British tourists looking for summer sun. For this reason, Ryanair is increasing its capacity by 175,000 extra seats on flights to Portugal from the UK. Below is a list of Ryanair Portuguese destinations and departure airports.
Ryanair expects a surge in demand
When speaking about the increased capacity to Portugal in a company statement, Ryanair’s Director of Marketing, Dara Brady, said:
“We are very pleased to announce 175,000 extra seats to Portugal on the back of the UK’s green list. With quarantine-free travel now permitted to the likes of Faro, Lisbon, and Porto, even more, flights have been added to our UK schedule in order to meet the demand from our customers.
The UK Summer 2021 schedule comprises 480 destinations, having recently launched 26 new routes and with more to be added as restrictions relax throughout Europe over the summer months. UK families can book a well-earned summer holiday safe in the knowledge that if their plans change, they can move their travel dates up to two times with a zero-change fee up until the end of October 2021.
To celebrate, we are releasing seats from just £19.99 for travel until the end of October 2021, which are available to book until midnight Sunday 9th May. Since these amazing low prices will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto www.ryanair.com to avoid missing out.”
When looking at the green list of countries, you cannot help wonder why the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands did not make a list as they both have meager case rates. When the list is reviewed in three weeks, I can see many more popular destinations being added to the list.