What are air bridges and which holiday destinations could be linked to the UK?

HOLIDAYS abroad could be just around the corner as the UK looks into forming air bridges with other countries, ending the need to quarantine.

Spain, Portugal and France are just some of the tourist destinations popular with Brits hoping to form an agreement with the UK ahead of the summer season – here is everything you need to know.

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What are air bridges?

Also called "travel corridors", air bridges would allow tourists between two countries to visit without needing to quarantine.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps told the House of Commons that air bridges "enable people from other areas and countries who have themselves achieved lower levels of growth virus infection to come into the country."

Some countries in Europe are requiring visitors to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, which the UK has also enforced since June 8.

However, agreements between countries, particularly those with low cases of coronavirus, could agree to waive the two-week period to allow tourists to travel without restrictions.

The government is currently debating so-called “air bridges” with countries experiencing low numbers of COVID-19 infections – which would mean travellers both ways would be exempt from quarantine. 

It could see Brits travelling freely across Europe from July without having to quarantine on their return.

Which countries are considering air bridges?

Spain could see an air bridge agreement by next month, with the country already removing their own quarantine restrictions following the return of British tourists.

"Spain is willing to be open to the United Kingdom, we are in talks with them about their quarantine," a source said told Reuters.

UK tourists could eventually visit Greece and Portugal too, as both countries have agreed to potentially allow access to the country for British families without quarantining.

Portugal's foreign minister confirmed his country is talking to UK counterparts about air bridges so tourists can avoid being quarantined.

Augusto Santos Silva told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "quarantine is an enemy of tourism".

He added: "Our diplomats will work together to guarantee that British tourists coming to Portugal would not be subjected on their return to England to any kind of quarantine."

Greece and Portugal have low cases of coronavirus, meaning there is a much lower risk for Brits travelling there.

France is another nation that Britain could form a travel corridor with.

Most international arrivals into the UK are required to go into self-isolation for 14 days, while in France, a two-week quarantine is currently in place for UK visitors – although this is unenforced.

Other destinations on the cards to form air bridges with the UK include Turkey and Dubai.

Are air bridges already in place?

Travel between Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey will be allowed without the need to quarantine as part of the Common Travel Area.

However, overnight stays are not currently allowed, so a holiday is off the cards.

With the islands borders remaining closed, this is likely to remain the case until further lockdown measures are eased.

Airlines are ready with flights when travel is allowed again, with easyJet and BA offering domestic routes next month.

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