United Kingdom: 400% rise in airline bookings after relaxing COVID-19 restrictions

Published on : Friday, July 9, 2021

 The United Kingdom airline bookings rose by 400% after the Government confirmed that Brits who received full COVID-19 vaccine can skip quarantine when returning from amber list countries.

And fears have now been sparked that travellers could face queues of six hours at airports in a rush to finally go overseas for a holiday after more than a year of restrictions.

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps gave an update on the latest travel rules, with the new regulation coming into force on July 19.

Following the announcement, Brits rushed to travel websites to book their summer holidays.

Demand for seats soared, with EasyJet saying that bookings to amber list destinations rose by 400%, The Times reports.

The airline company said it added an extra 145,000 seats for flights to Spain, Greece and Portugal for the summer due to high demand.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said in a statement that they have been delighted with the customer response to the removal of amber list quarantine for the fully vaccinated, so Europe has now turned green for the double jabbed. This means that millions will finally be able to reunite with family and loved ones abroad or take that long-awaited trip this summer.

British Airways said their website traffic almost doubled after the announcement – with Spain and the United States among the most searched destinations.

But sources have warned that the additional checks at airports and an increased number of passengers following the announcement might create long queues at airports, with people waiting up to six hours at the border.

A Whitehall Source claimed the Border Force is “nowhere near ready” to cope with the latest changes.

Earlier this year, passengers at Heathrow Airport in London had to queue up to seven hours while checks were carried out.

But after the travel announcement, the Transport Secretary also warned that any destination on the amber list is at risk of turning red – meaning people will need to quarantine in a Government-approved hotel, forking out £1,750 per person for their stay.

And while Britain starts to ease restrictions for some of the most popular holiday destinations, countries including Italy, Portugal and Spain recently tightened entry requirements for Brits due to concerns linked to the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant.

Italy, for example, now requires five days of quarantine for anyone returning from the UK.

After Mr Shapps’ announcement, British Airways’ CEO Sean Doyle said that they are pleased to see this common-sense approach which is already working safely for many other countries, but there is more work to do.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA said that they have ‘strongly welcomed the government announcement.

He said that having to quarantine when returning from an amber list country has been a very significant barrier to travel for many people, so it is good that this will be removed for those who have had both vaccinations and for children.

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