UK flights to Greece resume July 15
Direct flights from Britain will resume on July 15, the Greek government said Monday in a bid to reopen the country to one of its leading sources of tourism income.
"In cooperation with the British government and following expert recommendations... direct flights from the UK to all Greek airports will resume from July 15," government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters.
Some 3.5 million travellers from Britain visited Greece in 2019. In line with EU recommendations, Greece is currently accepting direct flights from 14 non-EU countries -- including Australia, Canada, Japan and Uruguay.
But Britain, in addition to the US, Russia, Turkey and Sweden, have so far not been deemed safe enough for visitors to be allowed back. Petsas said Greece was using "targeted tests" to screen hundreds of incoming travellers, who must sign locator forms at least 48 hours before arrival.
But there is criticism that the rules are not always uniformly applied. Last week, the tourism ministry was criticised for allowing a flight from Sweden to land at the island of Rhodes despite the ongoing ban.
The ministry said the flight was exceptionally allowed in consultation with the Swedish embassy as it was also carrying journalists reporting on Greece's coronavirus protocol procedures. There was also uproar last week when the father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Stanley, flew in via Bulgaria.
In comments to Greek and British media, Johnson said he had come to "covid-proof" his holiday home for rent in Mount Pelion. The government did not respond to questions on whether the official procedure had been followed to test Johnson on arrival and monitor his whereabouts.