Calls for PM to expand air bridges to ALL of Europe including Portugal as ministers to sign off holidays TODAY
BORIS Johnson is being urged to give the green light to air bridges to all European nations today – as he gears up to rubber stamp holidays for Brits from July 4.
The PM is set to meet with his top team today to give the sign off on an air bridges scheme – also known as travel corridors – which would mean people would not have to quarantine for 14 days when they return.
The Foreign Secretary is expected to change the official travel advice in the coming days to say it’s OK to go abroad.
The advice has been against all but essential journeys abroad since the lockdown began in March.
Industry sources expect Brits will be able to start flying abroad from July 4 and the list of safe countries could eventually include up to 50 nations.
It’s understood they will sign off on agreements holiday favourites including France, Italy and Spain, as well as other European nations this week.
There will also be a “slow trickle” of updated destinations from then, with medium haul destinations, like Turkey and Dubai added towards August.
But Henry Smith, the Conservative chair of the all party Future of Aviation group, said that excluding Portugal would be a mistake – and that all EU corridors should be opened up.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “EU countries have had a similar if not better Coronavirus experience than us. I think that is the most straightforward and eloquent way to approach it.”
And Paul Charles, spokesman for the campaign group Quash Quarantine, an industry campaign group, said that it wouldn’t be possible to enforce an bridge to Spain and not Portugal.
He said: “You are not going to be able to stop British people flying to Madrid, driving a car to Portugal, then going back via Madrid.”
“That’s why it needs a pan-European travel corridor. There are many states in Europe but it is in effect one country because of freedom of movement under Schengen.”
The news come as Tui today announced it would cancel all of its flights to Florida until December this year – in a sign that a trip to America might be months away.
Trips to Disneyland will be off for the time being, as it’s thought that America still poses more of a risk for UK travellers.
The firm said in a statement: “The decision has been made following new health and safety measures implemented at Walt Disney World to ensure the safety of its guests.
“These changes would significantly impact the holiday experience for many Tui customers who plan their magical and often once in a lifetime Florida holiday.”
Tui have previously said they will only fly their customers to destinations which remain quarantine-free – risking thousands of holidays being cancelled.
The aviation industry has been fiercely critical of the quarantine measures introduced on June 8 and has welcomed the air bridge plans.
But the travel industry body Abta urged the Government to set out its plans “as soon as possible” to allow businesses and customers to plan ahead.
An Abta spokesman said: “The process of sending people on holiday is not like turning on a tap.
“As much advance notice as possible from the Government is required for travel companies to restart operations.”
Greek tourism minister Haris Theoharis said the country wanted British tourists to return when it opens to other European holidaymakers on July 1.
He said: “The final decision, from the UK and our point of view, will be in place in the next few days and I’m hoping the announcement will be positive from both sides.”
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there was no need for those returning to the UK from Greece to be quarantined and added: “The point is that Greece is a safe country – we have proven that during this crisis and we will continue proving this in the exit stages of the health situation.”
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