Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary says the decision to move Portugal from green to amber “isn’t based on any science or public health”.
“What we don’t understand is why the UK, which has been so successful with vaccines, is expecting its vaccinated citizens travelling to Portugal coming back to quarantine,” he tells BBC Breakfast.
O’Leary says the decision is “more mismanagement of the Covid recovery” and has created unnecessary disruption and stress for hundreds of thousands of British families.
He says the airline still plans to operate planned extra flights to Portugal, with customers not able to get a refund but able to rebook their flights for later in the summer.
He remains bullish on travel saying that he believes European travel will be normal by the autumn.
Asked for his message for the government, O’Leary says: “Stop messing with people’s lives.”
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye added his opinion saying: “Ministers spent last month hailing the restart of international travel, only to close it down three weeks later all but guaranteeing another lost summer for the travel sector.”
He says if the government is serious about protecting jobs and supporting businesses it needs to reopen flights to key trading partners, remove testing for vaccinated passengers from green countries and cut the cost of testing.
Andrew Flintham, managing director for TUI UK, says the decision to remove Portugal from the green list is a “step back” for the industry and warns it “will do untold damage to customer confidence”.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren is among those bemoaning the lack of a promised waiting list.
“While our European fleet is gearing up for summer as European governments open up travel for their citizens, the UK government is making it impossible for airlines to plan while consumers are left grounded in the UK,” he says.