Furious TUI has cancelled all of tomorrow’s flights to Spain after the UK government imposed a blanket quarantine for returning travellers.
The UK government tonight issued a travel warning for all of Spain except the Canary and Balearic Islands.
It also imposed a 14-day quarantine for all UK travellers returning from any part of Spain, including the islands.
The airline said it was ‘incredibly disappointed’ at the short notice, as Brits’ summer holiday plans are thrown into chaos after travel ground to a halt during the earlier stages of global coronavirus lockdowns.
The UK government was forced on to the back foot tonight after reports emerged it was planning to close the ‘air bridge’ with Spain.
TUI has slammed the government’s sudden decision- saying holidymakers’ plans will be thrown into disarray.
The travel operator’s chief said TUI is proactively contacting all customers to either arrange refunds and rebooking options.
EasyJet and British Airways tonight told customers they did not plan to cancel flights over the coming days.
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The UK and Spain had an agreement for travellers to return home without two-week quarantines.
However that ended tonight as the government confirmed hours after speculation that it was issuing a warning against all travel to Spain.
Spain’s government has insisted travel in the country, is safe and that a cluster of coronavirus outbreaks are under control with localised restrictions.
However Spanish officials said the government respected the UK’s decision, and was in talks with authorities there.
The full statement from TUI UK and Ireland managing director Andrew Flintham, tonight said: “Due to the late announcement on Saturday 25th July from the UK Government regarding the change to travel advice for Spain, we have cancelled all flights due to depart to mainland Spain and the Canary Islands on Sunday 26th July.
“We will proactively contact all customers to either arrange a full refund or the option to rebook their holiday with a booking incentive. All customers currently on holiday can continue to enjoy their holiday and will return on their intended flight home.
“We’re incredibly disappointed that we didn’t get more notice of this announcement, or that this decision wasn’t made yesterday, as many Brits travel on holiday at the weekend.
:We also look to understand why quarantine has been issued for a whole country, including the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands, when the travel advice isn’t aligned (only applying to mainland Spain). It demonstrates why clear regional travel corridors need to be considered.
“The health and safety of our customers and colleagues is always our highest priority and welcome travel advice that protects those that holiday with us.
“However, the UK Government must work closely with the travel industry as this level of uncertainty and confusion is damaging for business and disappointing for those looking forward to a well-deserved break.”
At least two other major airlines have not cancelled their Sunday flights.
“Our flights are currently expected to operate normally,” British Airways told one customer on Twitter.
An easyJet customer service representative told another customer: “We plan to operate our full schedule in the coming days.”