Travel news – live: Traffic light system could end in October, sources suggest as Ryanair launches new flights

The UK’s “traffic light” travel system could be scrapped from next month, according to industry figures.

The BBC has been briefed by an industry source that the new system could “allow vaccinated travellers to go to countries with similarly high levels of vaccination as the UK without the need for quarantine”.

The government has reportedly asked senior travel industry leaders to make proposals for a new system around international travel, which will replace the current traffic light lists.

The source also said that the red list of countries that are unsafe to visit will remain.

A source “briefed on the proposal” has also told The Telegraph: “It’s about whether you are vaccinated or not, rather than the country you are travelling to.

“What it means is that green and amber disappear and only vaccination status will count for where you travel. For a vaccinated person, just as now all countries apart from red are ‘green’.”

The government declined to comment on the changes, saying: “Our international travel policy is guided by one overwhelming priority – protecting public health.

“The next formal checkpoint review will take place by 1 October 2021.”

In other news, Ryanair is launching six new routes from Birmingham Airport, including Lisbon and Vilnius, in newly green-listed Lithuania.

Follow the latest travel news below:


Balearic islands boosted by influx of British travellers

Spain’s Balearic islands are bouncing back after the pandemic travel slump, with more than 290,000 British tourist visiting the archipelago in July alone – up by 900 per cent from June.

In total, 291,731 British visitors travelled to the islands in July.

The UK was the biggest market for visitors to Menorca and Ibiza that month, with 35,691 and 75,336 arrivals respectively.

“Tourism is bouncing back in the Balearic Islands,” said the islands’ tourism minister Iago Negueruela.

“This is thanks in part to the swift reaction of the airlines that increased their capacity to the archipelago as soon as the islands were added to the UK’s green travel list and then committing to maintaining these connections.

“Additionally, we are very grateful of the support of both the UK and local travel industries who have helped stimulate the market after such a long lockdown period.”

Lucy Thackray9 September 2021 15:28


Scrap travel tests for the double jabbed, says former transport secretary

Former transport secretary Lord McLoughlin has joined the chorus of voices in the travel industry in calling for travel restrictions to be simplified – including axing the testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers.

Speaking for the first time as chairman of industry body Airlines UK, Lord McLoughlin told The Telegraph: “The government needs to look at changing the system to allow double vaccinated people to travel without these test restrictions.

“I’d like to know why they don’t think it is a runner when there is going to be a vaccine passport system in the UK later on this year.”

He pointed out that all other major EU nations have abandoned PCR tests for those who are fully vaccinated, resulting in their travel sectors bouncing back much quicker from the effects of the pandemic.

“What it does is send out a message that somehow we’ve got bigger problems than other countries, that we are more vulnerable than others. So that’s what I think it does negatively,” said the former transport secretary.

“If we’re going to be a global player and we want to be of global importance, then international travel and business travel is incredibly important,” he added.

“One of the biggest uses of Heathrow is exports as well as people. It’s also a hub market as well for goods. So all of that is all part of us being in a global position. If we don’t compete, we lose business and we lose trade. We don’t want to be seen as the odd man out.”

Lucy Thackray9 September 2021 14:59


UK consumers paid more than £1 billion for compulsory Covid tests this summer

British holidaymakers paid out more than £1bn for compulsory Covid tests this summer, new research shows.

The research by the PC Agency estimates that at least five million people over the age of 12 have flown into Britain from Europe between May, when holidays were made legal, and the start of September, reports the Evening Standard.

The average number of PCR tests required for each arrival is estimated to have been 2.3, meaning that some 11.5 million tests have already been taken in total, with only flights from Europe taken into account.

Each PCR test has an average cost of £90 attached to it, meaning the total paid out by consumers – mostly British families taking their summer holidays – exceeds £1bn.

The actual total could be much higher, since the figures did not take into account people flying from outside Europe, arriving on ferries or using the Eurostar.

“This £1 billion industry has grown quickly, with no clear oversight or regulation. A whole summer has gone by with consumers being ripped off with tests they don’t need at sky-high prices,” said Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency.

Lucy Thackray9 September 2021 14:14


When will the UK travel traffic light system end?

Want to know when the UK’s travel traffic light system is expected to end? Us too. Reports of multiple sources claiming to know the government’s plan for scrapping the controversial system are gaining momentum. However, the Department for Transport has not confirmed any changes to the travel system so far, saying only: “Our international travel policy is guided by one overwhelming priority – protecting public health.” With a further travel update expected from the government on or around 16 September, is it time to say goodbye to this frustrating system?

Read on for everything we know so far.

Tom Parfitt9 September 2021 13:23


Testing should be eased and ‘super green’ rules extended to Europe, says Simon Calder

The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder has given his views on the potential new travel rules system that could be set to replace the UK’s “traffic light” lists.

“To avoid further destruction of the UK’s previously world-leading travel industry – and to revive the near-moribund inbound tourism sector – fundamental changes are needed to end the complex, expensive, incoherent and constantly changing rules,” wrote Calder.

“Testing needs to be eased – ideally with most European countries moved to ‘super green’, alongside Ireland. In other words, no testing or quarantine for arrivals, at least for vaccinated travellers.

“At the very least, for vaccinated travellers from lower-risk countries (which includes almost all our holiday favourites), the “day two” PCR test – which must be taken on the day of arrival or one of the two following days – should be scrapped.

The 60-plus countries on the red list, requiring mandatory hotel quarantine, should shrink to a relatively small number of nations with very high infection rates, unreliable data and/or fears about variants.”

Lucy Thackray9 September 2021 12:42


France ‘could go on green list’, says expert – if there still is one

France could be a candidate for the green travel list, a prominent data analyst has said, at the next travel rules update – expected to be 15 or 16 September.

“France would have reasonable claims to go on the UK green list, if indeed there is still to be one,” tweeted Tim White, alluding to the news that industry sources have said the entire traffic light system may be axed before or around 1 October.

“New Covid-19 cases today falling 27% compared to this time last week, with 12,828 infections diagnosed,” said White of the current Covid stats for France.

Lucy Thackray9 September 2021 12:05


Manchester ranked third in Time Out’s World’s Best Cities list

According to a new Time Out list, Manchester is the third best city in the world.

The northwestern city came top in categories including friendliness, resilience and nightlife in the lifestyle brand’s annual round-up of the world’s 37 best cities.

Time Out polled 27,000 residents in cities around the world about food, drink, social life and sustainability, and combined their findings with insights from their own staff and experts around the world to in order to rank them.

San Francisco was number one, with its “progressiveness, inclusiveness and innovation” singled out for its top spot.

Lucy Thackray9 September 2021 11:08


Ryanair launches six new routes from Birmingham

Ryanair has announced six new routes for winter 2021/2022, all departing from Birmingham Airport.

The new flights are to Bergamo and Turin (Italy), Lisbon (Portugal), Bucharest (Romania), Shannon (Ireland) and Vilnius (Lithuania).

The latter is likely hoping to capitalise on Lithuania’s recent move to the UK’s travel green list. Vilnius has only recently hit British travellers’ radars as an offbeat European city break.

Ryanair’s director of commercial, Jason McGuinness, used the announcement as an opportunity to call for an end to Air Passenger Duty.

“APD makes UK airports very uncompetitive versus Europe, where Ryanair continues to add capacity, having opened a number of bases in recent months in the likes of Zagreb, Stockholm, Billund and Riga,” he said.

“While Ryanair is committed to the UK and its Birmingham airport, the lack of government support continues to create further barriers to boosting traffic and growth.”

Lucy Thackray9 September 2021 10:39


Risk of contracting Covid-19 on flights is 0.1%, says news data

The risk of exposure to Covid-19 on a flight where every passenger has tested negative is less than 0.1 per cent, according to new research.

The new peer-reviewed study used data from nearly 10,000 air travellers on Delta’s Covid-tested flight corridors between New York’s JFK, Atlanta and Italy’s Fiumicino airports to conclude that a single molecular test performed within 72 hours of departure could significantly decrease the rate of people infected onboard a commercial aircraft.

The research, conducted by the Georgia Department of Health and Mayo Clinic in conjunction with Delta airlines, states that infection rates on Covid-19 tested flights constituted 0.5 per cent, or five in 10,000 passengers, compared with 1.1 percent, or one in 100 people, in the community.

Lucy Thackray9 September 2021 10:02


easyJet rejects takeover bid

Britain’s biggest budget airline has rejected a takeover bid.

In a financial announcement, easyJet said: “The board recently received an unsolicited preliminary takeover approach.

“This was carefully evaluated and then unanimously rejected.”

The airline said it was a “low premium and highly conditional all‐share transaction which, in the board’s view, fundamentally undervalued the company”.

No clues were given to the identity of the potential bidder – which may have been a rival airline or a firm outside the aviation industry.

Simon Calder9 September 2021 09:41


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.