Airline shares dive as Portugal is taken off the green list

Traveling to Portugal will now require a ten-day home quarantine return

Shares in major travel companies plummeted yesterday as the UK government removed Portugal from its green list of safe destinations.

The decision caused chaos among holidaymakers, many of whom rushed to cancel their trips abroad.

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Tui saw its share price fall by 4.5% yesterday, while the easyJet share price was down by over 5%.

Ryanair and IAG, owner of British Airways, also saw sizeable losses, down 4.5% and 5.4% respectively.

The government’s decision to change Portugal’s status to amber means those traveling will have to do a ten-day home quarantine on their return.

Chief executive of the Business Travel Association, Clive Wratten, told The Times that the government’s ruling effectively meant the UK had essentially closed its border. “It is a devastating day for the travel industry as a whole. Removing Portugal from the green list will destroy any confidence in international travel, whether for work or leisure.”

The possibility of travelling to Portugal throughout the summer gave hope to airlines and travellers alike in an otherwise dreary summer season.

John Foster, director of policy at the CBI, said: “The UK mustn’t jeopardise the strides made through the vaccine programme, but the international travel sector is on its knees and unable to trade its way to recovery. Without a successful summer season, the government will need to consider further sector-specific support to save jobs and skills essential for future growth.”

It is thought that the UK has been in talks, albeit slow paced, aimed at establishing a travel corridor between the nations.

The traffic light system was first put into place on May 17 when international leisure travel resumed. Now that Portugal is being removed from the green list, only 11 countries will remain.

There has been speculation that new countries could be added to the green list, including Malta and Finland, but the government is remaining cautious.

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