HOLIDAYMAKERS in Portugal are scrambling to get home amid changing Covid rules, just weeks after flights were launched in the North-East. 

The first flight to Faro, Portugal, is set to take off from Teesside Airport in just under two weeks but holidaymaker's plans may be scuppered amid changing Covid rules.

People arriving in the UK from Portugal after 4am on Tuesday will need to self-isolate at home for ten days after the Government moved it from the green list to the amber list.

Holidaymakers attempting to get back to the region before Tuesday could be charged hundreds, as those flying to Newcastle from Faro scramble to book flights home.

The North-East twice-weekly route was launched just weeks ago. 

Flying on just Saturday and Sundays, British Airways is charging £247.69 (€289) for flights from Faro to Newcastle on Sunday, but the price drops to £42.83 (€50) the following weekend. 

Passengers desperate to get home may instead travel to other airports in efforts to avoid quarantine. 

British Airways flights cost £348 from Faro to London Heathrow on Sunday and Monday, but the price drops to £137 on Tuesday.

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The airline said it will operate more flights to meet the demand for people returning home.

Meanwhile, flying on just Wednesdays and Saturdays, the first Ryanair flight from Faro to Teesside is scheduled for June 16.

Newcastle Airport says it is working with airline partners to understand their plans moving forward.

The Government's travel lists are reviewed and updated every three weeks, with the next review expects on June 28. 

Teesside International Airport Managing Director Phil Forster said: “There is a huge pent-up demand from local people wanting to travel from Teesside to go on holiday and get a break. On Tuesday we were proud to launch our first Ryanair flight to Majorca and later today we’re starting flights to Alicante, both with strong booking numbers because of that demand.

“Whether it’s foreign holidays or staycations, people want to have a summer break – and our domestic sales on routes including Bristol, Newquay and London have increased 35 per cent week-on-week.

“My message to holidaymakers would be to continue to monitor the situation, follow the rules and if, for whatever reason they can’t get abroad this summer, consider using our newly refurbished airport to visit one of our destinations in the UK.”

Dame Irene Hays, owner of travel agent Hays Travel, said she was “surprised and obviously disappointed” to hear of Portugal’s move off the green list for travel from the UK.

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She told media she was “disappointed for our customers, disappointed for the travel industry and really disappointed for Portugal, because they’ve tried so hard and their infection rates are so low. I know they’re rising in Lisbon, but it’s quite a way from the Algarve, which is where most of the tourists are”.

Asked if she felt that nuance had not been taken into consideration, Dame Irene said: “It would be nice if it was a nuanced approach, but we are where we are.”

It is “difficult” and “very frustrating” for holidaymakers, particularly those who had just started their trips, she added.

While some people are still booking holidays for the summer, Dame Irene said the “vast majority” are instead booking for autumn or 2022.

Airport Operators Association Chief Executive Karen Dee said: "The removal of Portugal from the green list and no new green countries is another huge blow for people looking forward to seeing family, taking a holiday abroad or travelling for business.

"Given the success of the UK vaccine rollout, the continuing overly cautious approach to travel will disappoint and puzzle many.

"Summer 2021 is shaping up to be worse than last summer, which was the worst in aviation history. Analysis by IATA has shown that 860,000 jobs of the 1.6m UK jobs in aviation, travel and tourism were lost or sustained only due to government furlough schemes since the pandemic started.

"The UK and devolved governments must now decide: either let the UK have a vaccine dividend, as the EU and US plan to do, and reopen travel in a meaningful way at the next review point on 28 June, or give the aviation and tourism industry substantial sector-specific support to help us protect jobs and weather another disastrous summer as a result of a continued overly cautious approach."

It comes amid concern over the Delta variant, which originated in India, as 56 per cent of Covid cases in North-East are reportedly this strain.

  • Prices were correct at time of writing