Hundreds of flights to Greece and Spain set for this weekend after amber list rules change

23 July 2021, 15:47 | Updated: 23 July 2021, 15:59

Brits are just as keen to get back to Greece as they were two years ago, data suggests
Brits are just as keen to get back to Greece as they were two years ago, data suggests. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Brits looking to get away for their summer holidays appear undeterred by the amber list now fully-vaccinated people can avoid quarantine.

Days after travel rules changed for those who've had two jabs, flights from the UK to Greece are nearly up to the same level at this point in 2019 – well before coronavirus spread across the globe.

It represents a remarkable vote of confidence in the country, which is on the amber list.

As of July 19, people who are fully vaccinated only need to take tests when they return to England from amber list destinations, instead of isolating at home.

They will still need to quarantine should a test come back positive.

Read more: PM unveils plan for fully-vaccinated people to no longer isolate after amber list holiday

Read more: Amber list: What are the new rules for holidays and which countries are on it?

But after a year of holidays being cancelled and rapidly-changing plans, Brits still appear keen to get away for a summer holiday.

Travel data and analytics experts Cirium said flights to Greece from the UK for July 23-25 were at 95% of the levels seen on July 26-28 two years ago – the period that marks the start of school holidays.

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A total of 352 flights are scheduled for the weekend, compared to 372 on July 26-28 2019.

Elsewhere, Spain and Turkey flights are 34% lower than that period two years ago, though 996 flights are still scheduled to go to Spain.

Portugal is the destination for 205 flights, down 59% from the 313 in the same weekend in 2019.

Flights to Italy, France and Germany are all far down compared to 2019 but round off the remaining top destinations for tourists in the next couple of days.

Alistair Rivers, Director, Market Strategy – Airlines and Airports, for Cirium, said: "It's great news that flights to Greece this weekend have recovered to 95% of pre-pandemic levels – fuelled in no small measure by the relaxation of the rules for double-vaccinated British holidaymakers, who are now able to travel to amber lists countries, apart from France, without the need for self-isolation on their return.

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"The figures for Turkey are surprisingly positive too, with Cirium data showing flights from the UK have only fallen from 221 in 2019 to 146 in 2021, despite the country still being on the red-list.

"However, the number of flights overall this weekend is still significantly down – almost by half – compared to before the pandemic struck, indicating there is still a long way to go before demand fully returns."

UK residents who are fully vaccinated – those who have had at least two weeks since their second dose – no longer need to isolate when coming back to England.

They have to take a test before returning and must have a test on day two of their return.

People who are under 18 can also come back without quarantining, although they will not have had a vaccine.

France is the exception due to the spread of the Beta coronavirus variant - visitors must isolate for 10 days at home.

Anyone coming back from a red list country must isolate in a hotel when they arrive in England.