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Spain confirms UK travel in June in boost for European airlines

written by Adam Thorn | April 28, 2021

Boeing 737-800 Ryanair, pictured at Barcelona Airport (BCN) (Source: Australian Aviation archives)

Spain has appeared to confirmed British travellers will be able to visit in June, in a huge boast for European airlines.

The country’s Tourism Minister, Fernando Valdes Verelst, has revealed the two countries’ governments are planning to collaborate on a digital health pass to allow travel.

Currently, the UK has banned anyone leaving the country unless for business purposes, but those restrictions are set to end on 17 May to be replaced with a “traffic light” system.

Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council’s summit in Mexico, Minister Verelst said, “June will be the start of the recovery of tourism in Spain.

“By then, we will have a digital vaccination certificate in place and we will be able to reopen our borders.”

Minister Verelst also predicted Spain will be on the UK’s green list by the summer, due to the EU’s improving vaccine rollout.

“Because of the progress in our vaccine rollout with 22 per cent of our population having had their first dose already, we expect by June to be at the green light,” he added.

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“We are having close conversations with UK authorities and we are exchanging information on Spain’s digital system and the trial happening at our airports in May.”

The comments are significant for the aviation industry because 17.4 million Brits visited Spain in 2019, pre-COVID.

The UK has made a spectacular recovery in its fight against COVID, with the country now boasting one of the lowest infection and death rates in Europe.

The country has given at least one vaccine dose to over half the population, and a second jab to more than a quarter.

On Tuesday, just 17 deaths of the virus were reported – a fall of 70 per cent in a month and far lower than a peak of more than 1,200 in January.

In February, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary bullishly predicted Britons would be free to travel for the European summer season.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, O’Leary said, “We are heartened by the fact that the UK is expecting to vaccinate all the over-50s by the end of March, Europe is probably running a couple of months behind that by the end of June.

“So we think once all those high risk groups have been vaccinated, then travel restrictions should be removed, particularly on short haul intra-European travel and we expect there to be a strong recovery of beach holidays and family beach holidays going to Europe this summer.”

The budget airline was rebuked by the UK’s advertising watchdog when it banned Ryanair’s controversial ‘jab and go’ TV advert that encouraged customers to book flights after getting a COVID vaccine.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the campaign had become the third most complained about in history and risked discouraging viewers from following lockdown-style restrictions.

Ryanair responded by arguing that “important contextual factors” needed to be taking into account including the general awareness of the vaccination program and rules on international travel.

The advert showed younger people in their 20s and 30s enjoying holiday destinations but complainants said it implied most of the country’s population would be able to travel unaffected by summer 2021.

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