UK government ‘making it up as they go along’ by moving Portugal to amber list, says Ryanair CEO

UK government ‘making it up as they go along’ by moving Portugal to amber list, says Ryanair CEO

RYANAIR CEO Michael O’Leary has taken to the airwaves once again this morning to blast the UK government - this time for its decision to change Portugal's status from green to amber on its travel list.

The outspoken executive has been a vocal critic of the strict travel restrictions imposed by both the Irish and British governments, regularly accusing them of incompetence and mismanagement.

He is particularly perturbed about policies that he says have no basis in science or common sense.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Mr O’Leary said: “I think what upset us and most of the industry yesterday was that this decision to move Portugal from green to amber isn’t based on any science or public health.

“Portugal has vaccinated 40% of its adults, it has the same low Covid case rates as the UK, 50 per 100,000 of the population.

“And what we don’t understand is why the UK, which has been so successful with vaccines, is expecting its vaccinated citizens coming back from Portugal to quarantine – they have already been vaccinated.

“So, they are making it up as they go along, it is more mismanagement of the Covid recovery by the Johnson government, and sadly it has created unnecessary disruption and stress for hundreds of thousands of British families.

The decision to move Portugal to amber status was taken to “safeguard public health against variants of concern and protect our vaccine rollout”, according to advice issued by the UK government.

Seven other countries, including Egypt and Sri Lanka, have been added to the red list.

All changes will come into force at 4am Tuesday 8 June.

The comments come on the back of a turbulent few weeks for Mr O’Leary, as on Sunday 23 May, a Ryanair plane flying over Belarusian airspace was diverted and forced to land at Minsk Airport under the threat of being shot from the sky.

The dramatic incident was orchestrated by the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko to arrest Roman Protasevich, a journalist, Telegram channel editor, and critic of Lukashenko's increasingly authoritarian regime.

The Irish flight magnate described the incident “state-sponsored hijacking,” though, while Belarusian officials boarded the aircraft, the plane was not commandeered.