Budget airline Ryanair on Wednesday said it was expanding its summer flight schedule, citing the successful rollout of Britain’s vaccination programme, despite government warnings about a third wave of the coronavirus from Europe.
It said 26 new routes to popular destinations in France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain would be added, and planned more than 2,300 flights a week across a total of 480 routes.
“The UK’s roadmap for the re-opening of air travel, coupled with their highly successful vaccination programme, gives UK families confidence that Summer 2021 holiday travel will be possible,” Ryanair said in a statement.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned this week that a third wave of the virus on the continent will inevitably hit the UK amid additional fears that any vaccine export block imposed by the EU will affect the UK’s vaccine rollout.
A government advisory body scientist on Monday also warned overseas holidays were “extremely unlikely” due to the risk of travellers bringing coronavirus variants back to the UK.
Dr Mike Tildesley said Britain faced a “real risk” if people travelled abroad. At present foreign holidays are not allowed and returning travellers have to quarantine.
Under the current road map for easing restrictions, the earliest date people in England could holiday abroad would be 17 May.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was “too early to tell” when holidays abroad would be allowed.
People can currently travel abroad for a limited number of reasons, such as education or work, with anyone who does having to fill in a “Declaration to Travel” form stating a valid reason for leaving the country.