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Airlines Urge UK to Make Greece ‘Green’ for Restriction-free Travel

Pressure by British travel and aviation stakeholders is mounting on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reverse Greece’s exclusion from the country’s ‘green’ travel list.

The heads of the country’s national carrier British Airways, budget airline easyJet, and of Heathrow Airport are calling for Greece to be included on the UK’s green list, for more travel routes to open up, and for simpler Covid-19 testing procedures. Greece is currently on the UK’s ‘amber’ list.

The country’s aviation and travel professionals are warning that a decision on Monday, May 17, to allow quarantine-free travel to 12 countries (green list) only is limiting any potential for recovery of the industry.

“What’s crucial is that travel becomes easier for people,” said British Airways Chief Executive Sean Doyle, adding that the government would have to ease measures if it wanted to help airlines and travel companies survive.

British Airways, easyJet, and Heathrow slammed the “limited” green list and called on the government to publish an “expected list” of destinations under consideration for summer travel which will allow holidaymakers to plan accordingly.

British Airways Airbus A321 taking off, Heathrow, UK. (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

“We are calling on the government to help people to plan ahead by publishing a list of countries expected to be on the green list for the summer,” said Heathrow’s Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye.

He went on to add that France, Greece and Spain should be included on the safe list, expressing his “surprise and disappointment” that the Caribbean was not included.

In the meantime, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis told British media last week on his visit to London that he was optimistic, expecting Greece to be taken off the “amber list” very soon. Greece is among the top three destinations of choice for British travelers and a leading source market for the country.

Aircraft landing at Heathrow Airport. Photo © LHR Airports Ltd.

All executives said travel to the US, the Caribbean, France, Greece, and Spain should be open for restriction-free travel before summer, adding that fully vaccinated travelers should not be required to present a Covid-19 test on return from a low-risk country.

Under current UK guidelines, passengers who travel to Greece or any other “amber country” are required to quarantine at home for 10 days when they return from their holiday.

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  1. clare martzos Reply

    Greece has been in lockdown for months. As a hotelier, I really want tourism back on track. However, to open borders without quarantine for countries with a high number of new daily cases is risky. The UK is right to open slowly and carefully and shouldn’t bow to pressure. Here in Greece it seems like a free for all, just because a date was set -obviously deals have been made between the government and travel companies – but surely to disregard tried and tested safety measures because of a bit of pressure only devalues and negates those same measures we have had to put up with, and the lockdown that we are all so tired of. Lets throw it all away, just so we can experience a new lockdown very soon!

  2. Noel Spruce Reply

    The British government needs to send a clear message regarding travel to Greece, rather than letting individual ministers send out their own advice.The airline and holiday industry needs decisive action, not ditheting!!!

  3. Roy Ferguson Reply

    It would help Greece a lot to remove the PCR test 72 hours before travel, and use the lateral flow test which the government gives out free. The cost of tests will stop families going it can cost £120 for one test, for a family of four thats £480 plus another £480 when they return to the UK.
    There were no PCR requirements last year and i believe there was no big problem with excess cases. We all want to ho on holiday but the extra cross and stress is making it difficult.

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