Green for Go – UK’s Greenlist Leads to Surge Flight Bookings

by Luke Will

For those wanting to get away this summer, the news on which countries were on the Government ‘Greenlist’ for travel was a long-awaited announcement. At present, leaving the UK without a ‘valid reason’ (which excludes holidays) has been illegal, leaving airlines and holidaymakers at a knife-edge at when travel overseas might be possible again, however in an announcement by Grant Shapps – Transport Secretary – yesterday, the Government confirmed this legal restriction would be removed on May 17th, and replaced with a new ‘Three Tier Traffic Light System’

The Three Tier Traffic Light System

To ensure the safe resumption of travel, and avoid ‘variants of concern’ establishing community-roots in the UK, the government has announced a new three-tier system set to go live next week, classifying countries into three categories:

UK Traffic Light System

For those wanting to jet away this summer, countries on the green list serve the best locations to head off to, with few measures upon return including there not being a requirement to quarantine at home or in a managed ‘hotel’ facility upon return.  However, in an announcement aired on 7th May 2021, Shapps unveiled there were only 14 countries currently on the green-list including:

  • Portugal
  • Israel
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Brunei
  • Iceland
  • Gibraltar
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, Ascension Islands

Airlines Reactions to the Traffic Light System

In a response to the 14 ‘Greenlist’ countries, several UK airlines have began to alter their summer schedules to increase capacity on routes to Green Countries. TUI, Ryanair, British Airways and Jet2 are a few of the carriers making such amendments.

TUI Flights to Madeira and Portugal

One such carrier, TUI, has responded to growing demand from customers looking to enjoy holidays in ‘Green List’ destinations, including Madeira and Portugal’s Algarve region this summer.

New flights and extra holidays have been added to give more choice and flexibility for those who want to get away as quickly as possible, following the news that Brits can travel to “green” destinations without having to quarantine on their return from 17 May.

The new departures are from London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol, as follows:

Funchal (Madeira): additional weekly flights from London Gatwick and Manchester, every Friday from 21 May to 29 October, and twice weekly from Birmingham, every Monday and Friday from 17 May to 29 October. These extra flights open-up the opportunity to book 10 and 11 night-holidays.

Faro (Portugal): additional weekly flight from Bristol, operating every Thursday from 20 May to 28 October. This is in addition to the 11 weekly flights already on offer from other UK airports on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the Summer.

In a statement, Managing Director of TUI UK, Andrew Flintham said:

“These destinations have always been firm favourite for Brits, so it’s no surprise demand has increased following speculation they could be available from 17 May without the need to quarantine on return. 

We own every element of the holiday programme, so are uniquely placed to respond to customer demand and add additional holidays to the most popular hotspots. We’ve also introduced new subsidised testing packages, which start from just £20 for green list destinations to help our customers get away for their long-awaited holiday.”

Ryanair Flights to Portugal 2021

Similarly, Dublin-based LCC (Low Cost Carrier) Ryanair has also massively ramped up flights to popular summer destination, Portugal.  Shortly after the announcement on 7th May, the carrier announced even more flights to Portugal, with over 175,000 extra seats from 17 May as the country makes it onto the UK’s green listed destinations.

UK holidaymakers will now have even greater choice when flying to the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto this summer, and to celebrate, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from just £19.99 for travel until the end of October 2021 – but these sale prices must be booked by midnight Sunday, 9th May, and are only available via the Ryanair website.

Speaking to Travel Radar, 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.”

What’s your reaction to the new traffic light system? Have you got a holiday booked this year? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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