The boss of Britain’s biggest budget airline has called for all major European countries to be in the “green” category when international travel from the UK is permitted.
At present holidays abroad are illegal, though that is expected to change from 17 May.
After that, nations – and possibly individual islands – will be assigned to three categories for the purposes of returning to the UK.
Arrivals from “red” and “amber” countries will be required to quarantine, while those on the “green” list must take a PCR test within two days of arrival.
At a briefing following a pre-close trading statement, Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, was asked by The Independent if he expected the top southern European nations – France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey – to appear on the list of lowest-risk nations.
He said quarantine should not be imposed on arrivals from those countries “unless something happened”.
Mr Lundgren said: “By the time we get to 17 May and the rollout of the vaccination programme that seems to be picking up everywhere we look around Europe, I would struggle to see that there would be – unless something happened between now and then – that there would be many countries who wouldn’t be in that green category.”
The easyJet chief executive also called for lateral-flow tests to replace PCR tests for arrivals from green-listed countries.
When the government published its second Global Travel Taskforce report on Friday, the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “We cannot allow mass international travel to become a major vector for the introduction into the UK of dangerous Covid-19 variants.
“The recent surge in infection rates in Europe has highlighted the challenges we continue to face. Even as we seek to re-open international travel, we cannot rule out future restrictions.”
Separately, the general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) has derided the government’s refusal to reveal its plans.
Brian Strutton told Sky News: “I’ve never seen a road map with all the destinations blanked out.
”People actually want to know when they can go and where they can go, those are the answers we need.“
“Airlines, aviation and the whole travel sector are on their knees, being crippled by the coronavirus crisis.”