Spain’s tourism minister believes the country is likely to make the next iteration of the UK government’s green list, due early next month, while Ireland is set to allow unrestricted travel to UK visitors.
Also in today’s press (25 May), there are concerns over the spread of the so-called Indian variant of Covid-19 to to the Heathrow area, and talk among the EU nations of a tax on aviation and maritime fuel.
Home secretary Priti Patel has also hinted at new technologies at the UK border to automate some checks. It comes after Patel on Monday (24 May) announced plans for a US Esta-style digital visa.
Spain expects to be on green list
Spain’s tourism minister says he expects the country to be on the green list from 7 June. Fernando Valdes said Covid rates in key destinations were “pretty low” and predicted: “Spain is going to change on its notification.” (Sky News)
Ireland to permit quarantine-free visits from UK
Ireland will scrap the requirement for UK visitors to quarantine for 14 days. An announcement is due to be made this week that will kick-start summer travel to the republic, with the Irish tourist board set to announce a multimillion-pound marketing campaign. Travellers returning to the UK will not face quarantine under the common travel agreement between the two countries. (The Telegraph)
‘Avoid Heathrow area’, says government
The area around Heathrow has become a Covid hot spot and should be avoided, the government has said. Hounslow is one of eight local authority areas affected by the Indian variant. Government advice is to “avoid travelling in and out of affected areas”. (Sky News)
Facial recognition cameras to be introduced
Home secretary Priti Patel has revealed plans to install “contactless corridors” that will alleviate airport queues with fully automated border checks. Facial recognition and biometric technology would be used to check passenger details that all visitors will have to submit before travel. The scheme will take until 2025 to become operational. (The Times)
EU moving towards fuel tax
EU finance ministers have expressed support for a Europe-wide tax on jet and maritime fuel to reduce carbon emissions by 55% in the next decade. Proposals will be set out in July by the European Commission. (Financial Times)
EU bans Belarusian airlines
The EU has banned all flights operated by Belarusian airlines from its airspace. The move follows the forced diversion of a Ryanair flight on Sunday when a dissident journalist was removed and arrested. The ban will affect Belavia’s service from Minsk to Gatwick, while any routes operating in Belarusian airspace will be diverted. (BBC)