Britain will next month publish plans to allow fully vaccinated people to travel unrestricted to all countries except those with the highest COVID-19 risk, in a boost for a travel industry wrecked by the pandemic.
Airlines welcomed the move and they were further cheered by news late on Thursday that Britain will add Malta, the Balearic Islands and the Portuguese island of Madeira to its "green list" for safe travel spots from June 30.
"Thanks to our successful vaccination programme, our intention is that later in the summer UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to isolate when travelling from amber list countries," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said. "We'll set out further details next month," he tweeted.
The Department for Transport declined to say if the easing of restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers would take place in a matter of weeks or months.
British Airways and Jet2.com welcomed the news. "We cannot afford another missed summer," said BA chairman and chief executive officer Sean Doyle in a statement. "There are jobs at stake, Britons separated from family members and we cannot afford to allow the success of our vaccine programme to be wasted."
EasyJet said the reopening fell short of a safe and sustainable easing of restrictions promised by Britain's government.
"We celebrate that the government's work has borne fruit and Britain has valued the Balearics' excellent health situation to open it as a safe destination for its citizens," Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto tweeted.