Air bridges unveiled in two weeks to let Brits have foreign summer holidays

Air bridges that let Brits go abroad without quarantining are to be unveiled within a fortnight.

The idea, once seen as pie in the sky, is to become reality, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has revealed.

Mr Shapps told LBC Radio that the Government is “actively working” on deals enabling Brits to fly to hand-picked nations and return home with no quarantine restrictions.

The minister said: “We won’t be in a position to announce which countries – where reciprocal arrangements go in place – until the 29th.”

Most international travellers arriving in the UK are required to go into self-isolation for 14 days.



A family head to Levante beach

Air bridges would enable travellers arriving from countries where the risk of being infected by coronavirus is deemed to be low to avoid going into quarantine after they have landed.

June 29 is the date that has been set for the Government’s first review of its controversial quarantine policy, which came into force last week.

But while Mr Shapps appears confident that the UK can agree a deal with low-risk countries, the Government’s continual U-turns have left families facing confusion over which states will welcome them and whether travel insurance will be valid.

Wildly differing rules across Europe have also left the industry and any would-be tourists baffled.



Most international travellers arriving in the UK are required to go into self-isolation for 14 days

Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Croatia, Italy and Switzerland have reopened borders with no quarantine requirements for Britons.

But the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Malta and Denmark are no-go areas.

Spain, meanwhile, announced it was throwing open its doors to a string of nations including the UK from Sunday but questions remain over whether Brits would two weeks of self-isolation on entry. Britain’s biggest tour operator TUI said all holidays until July 10 had been cancelled.

A spokesman for the firm added: “We’re being really flexible allowing customers with bookings due to depart up until August 31 the opportunity to amend to another date free of charge.



Spain announced it was throwing open its doors to a string of nations including the UK from Sunday

“We expect different destinations to open up at different times, with the Balearics, Greece and Cyprus looking likely to welcome tourists back first.”

A spokesman for travel body ABTA welcomed the air bridges plan.

But the Association of British Insurers said travel insurance would be invalid until the Foreign Office lifted its ban on non-essential travel.

Budget carrier Ryanair sparked air wars, with seats at £29.99 for destinations including Portugal and Spain.

It had 250,000 seats up for grabs, releasing 1,000 a day, but the sale ends tonight at 9pm for flights from July 1.

Brits are warned some destinations such as Malta and Greece are not open to UK passport holders.

The £6billion-a-year staycation market is proving equally complex, with caravan parks and campsites in the dark over when they will reopen.

Unlike in the retail sector, site bosses have not been given criteria they must meet before reopening.



Caravan parks and campsites had begged the Government to let them open earlier than July 4

Martin Smith, founder of campsites.co.uk, said: “Although July 4 is the date we’re all working to currently, most sites would prefer to open a day earlier… as weekend campers tend to prefer Friday arrivals.”

The Camping and Caravanning Club said it was awaiting confirmation of a reopening date but revealed some sites would have to forfeit loos and showers.

Site owners are hoping a kitemark safety scheme to be unveiled by VisitEngland and the AA will help reassure visitors that parks are safe.

While the industry awaits the green light, the RNLI revealed it was boosting the number of lifeguards on beaches ahead of what it thinks will be the “busiest summer ever”.

During the early stages of lockdown being eased, only 18 of the 248 beaches around Britain normally covered had lifeguards on duty, with swimmers urged to be extra cautious.

But by this weekend the RNLI is hoping 80 beaches in England, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands will be covered, with 170 expected to be patrolled by early July.

Mark Dowie, the RNLI’s chief executive, said: “With schools closed and restrictions on foreign travel, we know that lots of people will be heading to UK beaches – this could be the busiest summer ever for both our lifeguards and our lifeboat crews.”

source.



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