Travel list: Govt 'making it up as they go' says Ryanair CEO
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The Government yesterday announced changes to its travel traffic light system. Most notably, Portugal is being removed from the green list and added to the amber list next Tuesday. This news has caused chaos within the travel sector.
Due to changes to the green, amber, and red lists, airline companies have updated their plans ahead of the summer.
Jet2 has cancelled all international holidays and flights until July 1.
It has cancelled all Portugal flights this month, as well as flights to Turkey.
Turkey is currently on the UK’s red list, and it is unlikely restrictions will ease.
Therefore, Jet2 has said that it will suspend flights to the country until July 22.
In a statement released yesterday, the airline said: “Following today’s update, we have taken the decision to restart flights and holidays on July 1, 2021.
“For any destinations currently on the Amber List, we are also allowing customers to amend their booking free of charge if they are due to travel between July 1 and July 21, 2021.”
Jet2 CEO Steve Heapy expressed his frustrations with the UK Government, claiming that the rest of Europe is permitted to “open up” while Britons are being urged to stay put.
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Mr Heapy said: “We know how disappointed our customers and independent travel agency partners will be following today’s announcement, and we share their concerns and frustrations.
“We are now calling for complete openness and transparency when it comes to the data, so that customers and the industry can really understand what is driving these decisions.”
The Jet2 boss added: “We agree that public health must be the number one priority.
“However, despite all the evidence and data showing that travel can restart safely and at scale, the UK continues to remain largely grounded whilst the rest of Europe opens up.”
Customers affected by Jet2’s changes will have their bookings automatically cancelled and given a full refund.
Another travel company to update its plans this summer is EasyJet.
The budget airline said it is reviewing flights to Portugal after the nation was removed from the green list yesterday.
A spokesperson for EasyJet said: “As a result of the Government’s sudden announcement placing Portugal on the amber list from next week, we are currently reviewing our flying programme to the country in the coming days.
“If customers want to change their plans, we offer the option to transfer their flights to another date or destination on EasyJet’s network without a change fee up to two hours before departure.”
The spokesperson added: “Any customers whose flights are cancelled will be provided with their options which include receiving a full refund or transferring to an alternative flight free of charge.”
Many travel experts have criticised the Government’s decision to axe Portugal from the green list, claiming it will hugely impact both holidaymakers and those working in the travel sector.
Travel consultant Paul Charles said this morning that the changes to the travel traffic light system will result in “hundreds and thousands of job losses”.
He went on to criticise both the system and the Government’s approach saying that Portugal should have been moved “from green to the green watch list” instead of the amber list to “give people more time to work out their plans”.
“It flies in the face of all the advice they were giving and the reason why they set up the travel traffic light system in the first place and I think that system is now seriously under question.”
Mr Charles added: “The travel sector has been pulled from pillar to post for at least 12 months now and dogged by inconsistencies of government policy.
“The sector needs a good summer this summer.”
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