Published on June 4th, 2021 | by Alan Dwyer


Ryanair Condemns UK Government For Putting Portugal on Amber List

Ryanair has condemned by the UK Government to place Portugal on the Amber Travel list saying the decision has no basis in public health or medical science. The decision comes as the airline has recently started flying again from the UK to Portugal following the lifting of restrictions. This decision now requires vaccinated UK citizens returning from Portugal to quarantine for 14 days, even though 75% of UK adults have now received a Covid vaccine. Vaccine rates in Portugal are rapidly catching up with UK levels, with over 40% of Portugal’s adults having now received a Covid vaccine. The decision to move Portugal from the Green to Amber list has also no basis in medical or public health when Covid infection rates in Portugal are also identical to UK rates (at just 50 cases per 100,000). Covid case rates in Portugal are declining, as they are in the UK, thanks to the successful rollout of the Covid vaccines. Ryanair also condemned Transport Minister Grant Shapps failure to add other destinations to the UK Green List, such as Malta, which has now overtaken the UK with almost 80% of its population receiving a Covid vaccine, and Covid case rates in Malta are just 12 per 100,000 population, less than 25% of the rate in the UK.

Ryanair Group CEO, Michael O’Leary

Commenting on the announcement, Ryanair Group CEO, Michael O’Leary said, “Boris Johnson’s Government is again mismanaging the Covid recovery. This stop-go-stop approach to short-haul travel in Europe is inexplicable and unjustified when 75% of the UK population has now received a Covid vaccine. There is no medical or public health reason for moving Portugal from the Green to the Amber List, when its Covid case rates are as low as the UK at just 50 per 100,000 population, and Portugal’s vaccine rollout programme has exceeded 40% and is rapidly catching up with UK levels. UK citizens who have already booked travel to Portugal deserve an explanation why vaccinated UK citizens are required to quarantine when returning from a country that has similarly low Covid case rates as the UK. Transport Minister Shapps should also explain why those countries such as Malta, or Islands such as the Balearics and the Canaries, who have significantly lower Covid case rates than the UK, have not been added to the UK Green List to allow UK families a well-earned holiday in June, July and August, particularly when those UK families have already been vaccinated. This is sadly further evidence that the Johnson Government just makes it up as they go along, and this stop-go-stop approach to international travel is damaging for the UK and for millions of UK families.”

Ryanair’s figures for May show they operated over 12,000 flights with a 79% load factor across the network. They carried 1.8 million passengers during the month, which was a marked improvement on the 1 million they carried during April and a substantial increase on the May 2020 figure of just 70,000 passengers. In May 2019, Ryanair carried over 14 million passengers so the airline has a long way to catch up with the pre pandemic figures.

The arrival of the first Boeing 737-8200 for Ryanair was widely publicised in recent months although this is now likely to be pushed back to the Autumn. When new aircraft arrive, they usually require numerous entry into service checks. With the massive workload currently engaged with the maintenance teams to get the current fleet back in the air, it is unlikely the airline will be taking delivery of any new aircraft soon.

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