Britain is in talks with Portugal over plans to create an “air bridge” that would allow holidaymakers to travel to the country without quarantining on their return.
It emerged yesterday that a restriction-free travel deal could be brokered with the Portuguese before any other country when the blanket quarantine measures are eventually relaxed.
Other countries including Greece have also indicated that they would be willing to strike a similar agreement with the UK to allow summer holidays to take place this year.
Ryanair, Europe’s busiest airline, confirmed yesterday that it would operate 1,000 flights a day from July 1, equivalent to 40 per cent of its total schedule. The airline will principally focus on routes between northern Europe and holiday hotspots in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Cyprus.
All passengers will have to wear facemasks in the airport and on the aircraft. Other measures include requesting to use the toilet to avoid queues.
Quarantine measures will come into force from June 8, with any arrivals into the UK forced to self-isolate for two weeks. UK citizens returning from abroad will have to comply or run the risk of £1,000 fines.
It is likely to prevent the vast majority of Britons travelling abroad. However, the government has confirmed that it is working on plans to ultimately relax the restrictions in favour of more focused “air bridges” that can allow Britons to travel to and from countries with low coronavirus rates, such as Portugal, while avoiding quarantine. The quarantine will be reviewed at the end of June and then every three weeks.
Yesterday Portuguese government officials told Reuters that they were in initial talks with the UK over the plan.
Last year more than 16 million foreign tourists visited Portugal — almost 20 per cent of them were from Britain.