United Kingdom

Britons could be holidaying in Turkey by July 15 as 'air bridge' deal nears agreement

Britons could enjoy a holiday in Turkey as soon as July 15, as officials hint that an 'air bridge' deal that would spare tourists a 14-day quarantine is close to agreement. 

If reports are confirmed it means Brits would be allowed into the country within six weeks. 

An air bridge allows quarantine-free travel between two countries and is under discussion by the UK and a number of holiday destinations. 

It would allow the travel sector - an industry that has been brought to its knees because of the restrictions imposed amid the pandemic - to begin its recovery. 

More than 2.5 million British tourists visited Turkey last year on holiday  

If agreed, the travel corridor would spare both tourists and British nationals from having to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the UK - a policy that comes into effect on Monday.  

Transport Minister for Turkey Adil Karaismailoglu revealed the country plans to reinstate flights with around 40 countries in June. 

He said Turkey has reached preliminary agreements for reciprocal air travel with 15 countries, The Sun reported.

One government official told the FT an agreement with the UK is on the horizon and that a provisional date of July 15 has been set for travel to restart between the two countries.

The news will come as welcome relief to the tourist industry, with more than 2.5million Britons holidaying in Turkey last year. 

A drone photo shows an aerial view of Ilica beach in Cesme during the first weekend without coronavirus restrictions in Turkey's Izmir province

Turkey's rate of infection is nearly three times lower than the UK's 

The best places to bag a summer bargain in the Med... but only if restrictions are lifted

Ponta Piedade Cave, near Lagos in Portugal, could soon see a return of British tourists

The government's 14-day quarantine rule starts on Monday as all non-essential overseas travel remains banned.

But if both rules are later reversed this summer., these are the best holidays where tourists can bag a bargain, according the The Daily Mail's Escape team. 

Chances of a summer break

Portugal: 4.5/5 - quarantine for Brits has already lifted, opening up the possibility of a travel corridor. 

France: 4.5/5 - although the border remains closed to tourists until June 15, France is an ideal candidate for an early travel corridor with the UK because of its closeness and popularity with holidaymakers 

Spain: 4/5 - an air bridge could be established if the UK's infection rate falls.

Italy:  4/5 - quarantine rules have already dropped for Brits, meaning tourism may well be on the horizon.  

Greece: 4/5 - there is a strong chance the UK will be given the green light to enter the country without quarantine on June 30

Croatia: 4/5 - the UK's director of Croatian tourist office says Brits can come if they complete an online form and have printed confirmation of their accommodation

Cyprus: 3.5/5 - the island is gradually reopening to tourists from 13 countries on Tuesday, though Brits remain banned 

The UK government had previously issued a statement saying it would look at air bridges with countries in a bid 'to recognise each other’s departure screening measures for passengers and removing the need for quarantine measures for incoming passengers.' 

The government official said the final decision would be based on latest coronavirus infection rate, as he told the FT: 'The two sides are in close contact. The UK is a very important country for us.' 

UK government ministers have been given a list of 45 nations to prioritise travel between, as agreed by major airlines including easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. 

Top holiday spots including Turkey, Spain, Greece and the US feature on the list. 

Turkey largely closed its borders as part of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which has so far infected 168,340 people and killed 4,648 according to the latest figures.  

Domestic flights resumed on Monday to some provinces as the Turkish capital Ankara eased restrictions following a significant drop in infection rates.

As of June 1 the current infection rate was 9.85 in every million - nearly three times lower than the UK's rate of 28.52.  

Karaismailoglu said flights to Turkey would be reinstated across five stages this month, and added that the country was in talks with 92 countries on resuming flights in a safe manner.

'We believe that we have left behind an important point in the battle against the virus globally. Now, we have to continue our global ties and trade,' he said in a written statement as reported by The Mirror. 

He said that flights to Northern Cyprus, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar and Greece will resume on June 10 and flights to 17 destinations, including Germany, Austria, Croatia, and Singapore will restart on June 15.

Flights to a further 16 countries will begin on June 20, 22 and 25, including to South Korea, Qatar, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium, he added. 

Ankara has already reached a preliminary agreement to restart reciprocal flights with 15 countries, including Italy, Sudan, the UAE, Albania, Belarus, Jordan and Morocco.

Earlier this week Germany said it was in discussion with Turkey about reviewing travel restrictions but was awaiting an EU recommendation before doing so. 

The Holiday Guru tackles YOUR travel problems 

By Daily Mail reporter 

I have paid for a four-day holiday with Shearings, staying at one of its hotels. After lockdown began, it offered me either a voucher or the chance to re-book for another time. I chose a voucher. Now it has collapsed — how do I get my money back? Edward Perkin, via email

A Those with credit notes issued since the lockdown began can claim refunds. Follow the instructions under the ‘Package holiday bookings’ section at

Q I was due to fly to India with Wildlife Tours on March 18, but the Indian Government suspended visas due to the coronavirus. The tour was cancelled, but Staysure, my insurer, will not pay out. Margaret Tabner, via email

A Under the Package Travel Regulations you are due repayment from your tour operator within 14 days of cancellation. However, Wildlife Tours is an independent company that asks customers to take out insurance with ‘travel disruption’ cover as it is ‘not big enough to give refunds’. 

You did not pay by credit card, so cannot claim from your credit card company. In such circumstances, travel insurance usually kicks in. Staysure initially would not agree to a refund as it was a foreign government that affected the trip. However, it has changed its mind on appeal. 

Q In March, I booked four plane tickets from London to Dhaka, Bangladesh, through a travel agent. Due to the current situation, I will not be able to travel. Am I due a full refund? Muhammed Azim Rahman, via email.

Yes, but you must wait for the flights to be officially cancelled. Under the Package Travel Regulations you are due a refund within 14 days of notification of cancellation.

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