The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), a UK Government body has removed Spain from the travel corridors exemption list due to an uptick in Coronavirus cases and deaths.
Whilst the advice includes the Spanish islands, FCO advise against all but essential travel to the mainland of the country. The removal does not cover the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
The information initially came across as confusing. The government cleared up the facts and stated if anyone is coming from Spain, whether mainland or island, then they will have to self-isolate.
Commenting on this decision was a UK Government Spokesperson who outlined the actions in regards to Spain.
“As a result, Spain has been removed from the lists of countries from which passengers arriving in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are exempted from the need to self-isolate.”
“Protecting public health is our absolute priority and we have taken this decision to limit any potential spread to the UK.”
“We’ve always been clear that we would act immediately to remove a country where necessary.”
“Both our list of quarantine exemptions and the FCO travel advice is being updated to reflect these latest risk assessments.”
All administrations across the United Kingdom are taking the same tact. They are also encouraging employers to be understanding of those returning from Spain who will now need to self-isolate.
This decision has also caused airlines in the UK to make the necessary changes.
For example, while easyJet (U2) does not look to cancel services, it is allowing fliers to transfer their dates of travel without any charge.
“We are monitoring the situation and continue to provide some flexibility for those who, if they no longer wish to travel, can transfer flights without a change fee or receive a voucher for the value of their booking”, the airline tweeted.
British Airways (BA) has also remained the same on operating its flights, but criticized the decision.
“While our flights continue to operate, this is sadly yet another blow for British holidaymakers and cannot fail to have an impact on an already troubled aviation industry”, a spokeswoman said.
TUI has canceled all of its flights, especially after today’s announcement. This is perfectly in-line with its policy not to fly customers to countries where quarantine is mandatory.
However, the airline was keen to note it would restart flights to the Balearics and the Canary Islands from tommorow.
Andrew Flintham, TUI UK and Ireland’s managing director commented on the situation, criticising the government for a late announcement.
“Due to the late announcement on Saturday 25th July from the UK Government regarding the change to travel advice for Spain, we have canceled 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.”
Ryanair(FR) has remained quiet on the issue, with flights to and from Spain still departing as scheduled.
Jet2 (LS) has confirmed it will not be canceling any further holidays and flights to Spain. This means it will continue to run its scheduled program.
The UK carrier did say it was “in the process of reviewing options for customers due to travel to these four destinations.”
This is because FCO travel advice to the Balearics and the Canary Islands had not changed.
Overall, this does ultimately remain as a big blow to the UK aviation industry, especially with Spain being a very large chunk of the market to such carriers.
However, the FCO advice may have to change over the coming days, especially with airlines interpreting such information as a green-light to keep operations running.