Leeds-based Jet2 plc said there has been a “phenomenal reaction” from customers with bookings spiking by more than 250% following the news that the UK Government has simplified rules for international travel to England.
Jet2 CEO Steve Heapy said: “People are clearly desperate to get away for some summer sun, as the demand for holidays in the next few weeks and half-term has been huge.
“Turkey is proving exceptionally popular, and we’re very excited to be flying holidaymakers there from Thursday 23rd September.
“Thanks to the certainty that yesterday’s announcement has given customers, destinations right across the board are selling well, whether it’s this summer, winter or next summer.”
The UK Government has simplified rules for international travel to England in a boost to the tourism industry, including scrapping the need for fully vaccinated passengers to take expensive COVID-19 tests on arrival from low-risk countries.
Under the new proposals, destinations will simply be ranked low or high risk, instead of red, amber and green.
Eight countries, including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives, will be removed from the high-risk red band from Wednesday which requires passengers to quarantine in a hotel.
From October 4, vaccinated passengers arriving from low-risk countries will be permitted to take a cheaper lateral flow test, rather than the privately administered PCR lab tests now required.
PCR tests for a family now can cost hundreds of pounds.
Heapy added: ““We have seen demand step up over the last few days, and there has been an immediate and massive surge in bookings for flights and package holidays on the back of this welcome news for holidaymakers in England.
“We expect the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to update their advice too and we look forward to this.
“Although it has been a long time coming, we are extremely pleased that the Government has finally committed to reopening international travel properly.
“Holidaymakers will be frustrated that these changes come too late for the peak summer holiday period, but we know how delighted they will be that their holidays are no longer subject to a set of restrictions that are completely out of step with other areas of everyday life.
“Having to take a pre-departure test in resort, along with an expensive PCR test after returning to the UK, has unfairly penalised hardworking customers and families for far too long.
“Although the removal of these burdens is welcome news and a step in the right direction, more can still be done.
“The Traffic Light system has been confusing and completely unfit for purpose since day one.
“We welcome a new approach which is easy for everyone to understand and provides certainty.
“With Turkey coming off the Red List, we will be restarting flights and holidays to Antalya and Dalaman from Thursday 23rd September.
“We are delighted to be restarting this programme and with great deals to be had, we know there will be phenomenal demand for late-summer sunshine, October half-term breaks and winter sun.
“The same applies to the 40-plus destinations we are operating to.
“The desire to get away for a well-earned holiday in the sunshine has never diminished, however harsh and unfair restrictions have remained a barrier for some.
“Now many of these restrictions have been removed, the rush in bookings for flights and package holidays to sun, ski and leisure city destinations tells us just how much holidaymakers have been longing to get away.
“Holidays mean so much to everyone, and we cannot wait to take our customers away on them.”