Portugal lifts flight ban, paving way for summer holidays

Helen Coffey
·2 min read
Tap Air Portugal plane (Flickr/Simone)
Tap Air Portugal plane (Flickr/Simone)

Portugal has lifted its flight ban on the UK, bringing the possibility of summer holidays there a step closer.

As of today (16 April), the suspension of direct flights that was previously in place has expired.

However, holidays to Portugal remain off limits for Brits; international leisure travel is illegal in England until 17 May at the earliest.

From that date, recreational travel will once again be permissible, with a new traffic light system in place determining what restrictions will apply to each country.

Green destinations will have the lightest restrictions, requiring arrivals to take a lateral flow or rapid antigen test before departing for the UK, and a PCR test within two days of arrival – no quarantine applies.

It is thought that Portugal might well be on the green list, thanks to a low rates of Covid-19 and limited spread of coronavirus variants.

Portuguese officials have said they hope to welcome back British tourists from 17 May, providing they have proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.

The tourism minister, Rita Marques, recently said the country would try “at all costs to avoid quarantines and additional Covid-19 tests” for tourists, reports the MailOnline.

She added that Brexit should not be an obstacle to British holidaymakers, saying: “Portugal is still identifying many issues that need special care due to Brexit but the Portugal brand is strong, particularly among the British.”

Johan Lundgren, easyJet's chief executive, recently stated that he believes most European countries will be put on the government’s green list when leisure travel resumes in May.

In response to whether he expected France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus and Turkey to be designated green destinations, Mr Lundgren said: “Yes, by the time we open up for travel on 17 May and if the government continues to have the plan in place on the two-test system.”

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