Flight ban bites with last departures between the UK and Portugal ‘until further notice’

flight ban bites with last departures between the uk and portugal until further notice scaled

At 8.16am on Friday, an Airbus A319 belonging to TAP Portugal pushed back from Terminal 2 at London Heathrow. It was the final flight between the UK and Portugal until further notice.

The plane to the northern city of Porto had flown to the UK on Thursday evening, hours before an unprecedented travel ban came into force.

Portugal, which in a normal year is visited by 2.5 million British holidaymakers, is subject to an indefinite flight ban. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, introduced it due to concerns about the so-called Brazilian variant of coronavirus – and Portugal’s “strong links” with South America’s largest country.

TAP Portugal said: “No flights from Lisbon or Porto to the United Kingdom will operate until further notice.”

Abta, the travel association, warned that passengers should not assume that their flight is operating normally.

Its spokesperson, Sean Tipton, said: “Check with the airline. They will bring people home, but if your flight is in two or three weeks’ time the airline may say, ‘Actually, you’ve got to come home’.”

Britain’s biggest budget airline, easyJet, has grounded flights between London Gatwick and Portugal’s main holiday airport, Faro, until 11 February.

INDY/GO Weekly NewsletterTIME TO TRAVEL!

INDY/GO Weekly NewsletterTIME TO TRAVEL!

Shortly after the flight ban took effect, easyJet Holidays cancelled all packages up to and including 24 March 2021. The planned re-start has been moved from 1 March to 25 March – the same date as the UK’s second-biggest holiday company, Jet2, hopes to resume operations.

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