NEWS: Portugal to come off red list, Turkey set to reopen in May & BA using long haul aircraft for short haul?

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Portugal to come off England’s red list

Portugal has been less than pleased to be on the UK’s red list in what was seen as a political move rather than being based on science. The country was originally included on the red list due to its links to Brazil rather than cases of the Brazilian variants. However, Portugal has been rapidly reducing their cases recently and currently have around 53/100,000 people versus 61/100,000 in the UK. 

It is now expected that on Monday Grant Shapps will announce that Portugal will no longer be on the red list which means you will not have to hotel quarantine for 10 days, only self isolate at homes and have the two tests. 

This will mean that no countries in Europe will be on the red list, so it looks promising for travel options when we are allowed to travel again.


Turkey set to reopen in May


Turkey had previously indicated that it expected to receive UK visitors by June this year. According to the Daily Mail, the Turkish are planning to allow UK tourists to visit from 17 May. You will not need to be vaccinated if you can show proof of a negative coronavirus test. It also sounds like they may allow vaccinated travellers to enter without a Covid test.

Whether we will be allowed to visit Turkey is another matter. Last year Turkey was taken off the travel corridor list due to the media they were using to count cases. Turkey was allegedly only counting the more severe Covid cases leading to their consistently low case figures. 

You can find our list of which countries are likely to open to vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers this summer here. 


BA using long haul aircraft for short haul?

BA cheap tier point runs

BA B787 Club World

In unsurprising news, British Airways is considering using some of its long haul aircraft for short haul routes. This is what I had been expecting as they did it last year on some Greek routes. They have also traditionally used the A350 and other long haul aircraft for Madrid once a day.

Even if we can travel from 17 May, the list of destinations we are allowed to visit and that will accept us is likely to be limited initially. Therefore it would make sense when BA have plenty of long-haul aircraft and crew not being utilised, that they would use this. If they have high demand it could be more cost-effective to have larger aircraft rather than a larger number of short-haul aircraft. Conversely, prices for tickets could be kept lower if there was plenty of availability. Currently, prices on BA are pretty eye-watering for most of Europe with flights to Greece starting from around £500 return in Club. 

As well as being potentially cheaper and more environmentally friendly, this would also differentiate BA from its competitors. Often prices with BA are not much different to the low-cost airlines, but if you knew you would get entertainment and a flatbed in business class on a 4-hour flight to Greece, it would definitely be a selling point. In fact, I would probably be tempted to fly to a destination by the very fact that you would have a more comfortable journey. 

At the moment, I can’t see any sign of long haul aircraft on any European routes. However, I would not expect them to finalise their plans for this summer until 12 April when the decision from the Travel Taskforce group will be revealed as to when travel will be allowed from England as well as where and how. 





2 Comments on "NEWS: Portugal to come off red list, Turkey set to reopen in May & BA using long haul aircraft for short haul?"

  1. BA’s A321NEO carries almost as many passengers as the B787-8, which would only be used if there is also cargo demand.

  2. I thought BA only used their A350 aircraft on crew training exercises for a short period of time when the new planes arrived? I don’t remember their A350 fleet being used short haul routes after that?

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