EasyJet and British Airways told customers on Saturday they did not plan to cancel flights over the coming days, after Britain’s government advised against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain due to COVID-19.
Earlier on Saturday TUI , Europe’s largest tour operator, said it was cancelling all holiday departures scheduled for Sunday.
“Our flights are currently expected to operate normally,” British Airways told one customer on Twitter.
An EasyJet customer service representative told another customer: “We plan to operate our full schedule in the coming days.”
Britain abruptly imposed a two-week quarantine on all travellers arriving from Spain after a surge of coronavirus cases, a dramatic and sudden reversal on Saturday to the opening of the European continent to tourism after months of lockdown.
The quarantine requirement takes effect from midnight (2300 GMT on Saturday), making it almost impossible for travellers to avoid it by rushing home.
The British foreign ministry also advised against all but essential travel to mainland Spain, a move likely to prompt tour operators to cancel package holidays and trigger claims against insurers.
The British move followed steps this week by other European countries. On Friday Norway said it would re-impose a 10-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from Spain, while France advised people not to travel to Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia.
But the total collapse of tourism from Britain would have far more impact. Britons made up more than 20% of foreign visitors to Spain last year, the largest group by nationality. Tourism normally accounts for 12% of Spain’s economy.
Spain had been on a list of countries that the British government had said were safe for travellers to visit – meaning tourists returning home would not have to go into quarantine.
The announcement of such lists just weeks ago had allowed Europe’s tourism sector to begin to revive after the near total shut-down prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.