Greece is hoping to set up an “air bridge” with the UK that would allow British tourists to visit from mid-July, Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis told Reuters on Friday.
British tourists are currently barred from Greek airports until at least June 30, unless they undertake a compulsory coronavirus test and a minimum of 7 day quarantine.
Airline companies and tour operators are increasing pressure to form a so-called “air bridge” that would allow British and Greek tourists to visit each others countries without having to do a compulsory quarantine measure.
The biggest hindrance is that the UK is forcing British tourists to do a 14-day quarantine for returning travellers even though the epidemiological data of Greece is incomparably better than the UK.
“I think that the most realistic prospect is around the middle of July to remove barriers from both sides,” Theocharis said, adding that Greece was also waiting European Union guidelines on the issue.
“We will keep looking at the (epidemiological) data and confirm this perhaps a few days before the middle of July,” he added.
Greece has 3,343 reported cases of coronavirus that has resulted in 191 deaths and at least 1,442 recoveries.
Greece’s Athens and Thessaloniki are operating with all other airports in the country to resume operations on July 1.
According to sources used by Proto Thema, some countries will still have flight bans after July 1.
These are, according to Proto Thema, Britain, Sweden, USA, Russia, Israel, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Northern Macedonia.
The list takes into account the prevalence of coronavirus in various countries and the criteria is based on epidemiological data.
It must be emphasised that no official announcement has been made by the Greek government, and rather this is according to sources of Proto Thema, one of the largest Sunday newspapers in Greece that is close to the ruling New Democracy Party.
Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines announced it is restarting its Athens-Dubai flights on July 15, despite Proto Thema’s reports.
In the company announcement on Friday, the airline said “Emirates will be offering scheduled flights for passengers from seven additional cities in the month of July. These include Khartoum (from 03 July), Amman (from 05 July), Osaka (from 07 July), Narita (from 08 July), Athens (from 15 July), Larnaca (from 15 July) and Rome (15 July),” as reported by Greek City Times.