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First flight returns to Aberdeen from amber listed Portugal

Aberdeen International Airport
Aberdeen International Airport

The first flight to return from Portugal since it was moved to the amber list has landed in Aberdeen.

The change came into affect at 4am on Tuesday and holidaymakers returning to Scotland will now have to self-isolate at home for 10 days.

Ryanair’s flight from Faro arrived at Aberdeen International Airport just after 11am this morning. It was only a week ago that hundreds of locals departed the city for a break in the sunshine. 

However, they only got to enjoy a few stress-free days in Portugal before its travel status was changed.

The country’s move from the green list to the amber list was announced on Thursday June 3 due to an increase of positive cases.

Ryanair only resumed their flights to Faro from Aberdeen last week.

Following the announcement, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Portugal is a popular destination for Scottish holiday makers and this change will clearly cause disruption to people’s travel plans.

“However we have been forthright from the outset that the traffic light system is designed to protect the safety of the people of Scotland and the continued progress we are making as we come out of lockdown.”

Stress for holidaymakers

The change resulted in many people “frantically” booking new flights and cutting their holidays short so they could avoid having to self-isolate.

Amanda Gray, from Inverurie, is on holiday at the Vilamoura resort in south Portugal with her friend, Jessica Kennedy.

She said: “We knew the risks when we got on that flight last week, but we didn’t think that everything would turn upside down within a day.

“On the day that we got told we were going on the amber list, you could hear everybody at the poolside just raging and stressing out that they would have to go home early, because obviously they can’t take more unpaid leave and need to return to work.”

There has also been an increase of flights leaving Portugal but at a higher price, while some airlines are allowing flight changes but not offering refunds to passengers. 

Miss Gray added: “Most of the people we have spoken to paid almost £500 for their flight back to the UK and that’s just mental.

“We checked all the prices ourselves and it’s crazy how a ticket to the UK on Saturday or Sunday was around £300 or £400 and then on Tuesday it drops to around £99.”

The Algarve region of Portugal has increased its free testing operation to help control cases and extended tests to tourists prior to their return home.

Anyone who has travelled from an amber list country to Scotland must self-isolate at home for 10 days and take a PCR test on days two and eight.

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