The price of UK flights from Portugal has rocketed, as up to 75,000 British holidaymakers are left in fear the Government will reimpose the two-week quarantine restriction.
Flights to London from Portugal cost less than £20 on August 22, as budget airlines celebrated the country finally being granted an ‘air-bridge’.
But just 12 days later, the holiday hotspot is on the brink of being taken off the ‘safe’ list – sending airfares soaring to more than £300.
EasyJet, which was advertising flights from Portugal from £28.99, is currently selling tickets from Lisbon to London Luton on Wednesday for £350, while trips to London Gatwick today cost £248.
Meanwhile, Ryanair – which reeled customers in with £20 flights in August – was charging tourists up to £302 for flights this morning.
Customers wanting to escape from Faro to London Stansted today will currently have to cough up £286. This dips to £228 tomorrow, before returning to £286 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Ryanair flights from Lisbon are completely sold out for Tuesday and the cheapest price for the next two days is £286.
A British Airways flight from Portugal will put tourists back up to £391, while cheaper prices are available on other airlines, with Wizz Air offering tickets from Faro for £130 and from Lisbon for £175.
It comes as the infection rate in Portugal increases from 19.4 cases per 100,000 people in the week to August 29 to 21.1 over the seven days to August 30.
The UK Government considers imposing 14 days of isolation on travellers when a country’s infection rate exceeds 20 cases per 100,000, over a seven day period.
British Airways boss Willie Walsh has claimed basing decisions on ‘arbitrary statistics’ means the UK has effectively put up a ‘closed’ sign to the rest of the world.
Writing in The Times, he said: ‘Another U-turn by the Government, adding Portugal to the quarantine list, will cause further chaos and hardship for travellers.
‘The Government is using arbitrary statistics to effectively ban 160 countries and in the process destroying the economy. The Government needs to introduce a testing regime to restore confidence.’
Environment Secretary George Eustice insisted this morning that the Government could easily miss coronavirus cases if they relied on airport testing.
He told Sky News: ‘Obviously all of these things are always kept under review. The advice so far on testing on arrival at airports is that the likelihood of missing people who are maybe asymptomatic and therefore won’t show up on the test is quite high.
‘Somebody can pass negative to a test and therefore think they are okay and find a few days later they develop symptoms.’
Britain’s ambassador to Portugal Chris Sainty said: ‘Travellers should consider their plans carefully and factor in the risks of travelling abroad in this fast-moving situation.
‘As Grant Shapps said, only travel if you are content to unexpectedly quarantine if required.’
An easyJet spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘As with all airlines, our pricing is demand-led, which means that as more seats are booked on a flight the price will rise so our fares start low and increase the closer it is to the date of departure.
‘The fares highlighted are a direct result of high demand for flights. We do not artificially increase ticket prices.’
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