EasyJet boss tells Brits it’s ‘absolutely legal’ to go on hols to amber list countries – blasting government advice05/20/2021
GOING on holiday to amber list countries is "absolutely legal" the boss of easyJet has said – despite government warnings.
The overseas travel ban was lifted on Monday, although MPs have been quick to say this is only to green list destinations, not countries on the amber list.
This includes most of Europe, with holiday hotspots Spain, Greece and Italy yet to join Portugal on the green list.
EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said on the BBC Today programme: "It's absolutely legal to travel to amber list countries.
"When this was introduced, there was no indication that you shouldn't travel to these countries because that's what the restriction was supposed to do.
"It was supposed to make sure you could do this in a safe way. So of course there are now families who can't reunite because of the numerous costs and testing, that are now being extremely frustrated.
"We have huge amounts of people who are contacting us to say 'can I go, can't I go? It's been very very confusing and I think that the government is dismantling the system that they set up themselves."
The traffic light system was introduced to allow safe holidays abroad, with only green list destinations not requiring Brits to quarantine when returning to the UK.
Amber list destinations require a 10-day home quarantine, as well as three Covid tests – one pre-arrival, and two on day two and day eight of quarantine.
While travel is not banned to the amber list, unlike the red list – which includes Turkey, the Maldives and the UAE – MPs have said holidays are not advised.
Earlier this week, Matt Hancock said that people should only travel to amber countries if "absolutely necessary" while Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: "It is not somewhere you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that."
Education Minister Gillian Keegan echoed both Boris Johnson's and Matt Hancock's warning, telling Times Radio: "Amber list countries are there for a reason – they are there so that you can travel for business, you can travel for particular situations such as funerals or if there are some specific care issues in your family."
However, Mr Lundgren said that people can take the meaning of "essential travel" in there own way, explaining: "If you're saying what is essential travel, then that depends on the people that you speak to – and many people say that it is essential for them to make that business trip, that it is essential for them to take that break and to go and see family members."
When asked if easyJet customers were still flying to amber countries for leisure despite Government guidance not to do so, he replied: "Yes, people are booking flights and they're going there on holidays."
Airlines and tour operators are still selling flights to amber list destinations, including easyJet, as well as TUI and British Airways.
Ryanair has even launched a £5 flight flash sale to amber destinations in June.
Mr Lundgren warns that the UK risks falling behind, following the announcement that Europe will be opening up to travellers outside f the EU, adding: "We have looked at the data that is available and the scientific evidence shows that you have a number of countries in Europe that are now on the amber list that should go into the green list."
The next review of the green list will be on June 5, with hopes of more countries being added.
Spain, Greece and Italy could all be added if Covid cases continue to fall and the vaccination programme progresses.
Thousands of Brits have headed to the airport this week after the holiday ban was lifted.
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