‘Amber-list’ countries: Hundreds of thousands of Britons have booked flights, says Ryanair boss

Hundreds of thousands of Britons have booked flights to “amber-list” countries, despite calls from Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to holiday there, it has been claimed.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary claims that people have “been booking in their droves” to visit countries such as Greece and Spain in the past four weeks.

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that trips to countries on the “amber list” such as France, Greece, Spain and the US were only allowed for exceptional circumstances such as visiting a family member who is seriously ill.

He said “amber list” countries should only be visited “in extreme circumstances,” such as family emergencies.

Speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, Ryanair’s Mr O’Leary said that he did not understand the UK’s traffic-light system for overseas visits – and neither did most Britons.

He said: “People are ignoring the short-term restrictions and working out they’ll be safe to fly late June, July, August when the school holidays come round. And they’re booking in their literally hundreds of thousands on a daily basis.”

.@Peston: Do you understand the UK’s travel rules?”@Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary: “No and I think most of the UK population doesn’t understand them either… they’re booking in their hundreds and thousands on a daily basis”

He added that with much of Europe set to have received their vaccinations by mid-summer, people are “reading the trends” and planning ahead for their trips.

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock both stressed that people should not be going on holiday to “red-list” or “amber-list” countries.

‘Red-list’ travellers tell of ‘chaos’ at Heathrow as new image shows packed arrivals hall

Two Cabinet ministers offered a different interpretation, however, with Environment Secretary George Eustice telling people that they could go to “amber-list” countries if they quarantined on their return, and apprenticeships and skills minister Gillian Keegan saying travel to “amber-list” countries was a “personal responsibility”.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said that the Government had “lost control of the messaging”.

Some people had already travelled abroad from England to “amber-list” countries for holidays after the ban on international leisure travel was lifted last Monday.

They are required to quarantine at home for 10 days on their return and to take a PCR test on day two and day eight of their arrival back.


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