Friday 19 June 2020 2:44 pm

Spain to make UK air bridge decision ‘within hours’

Spain expects a decision ‘within hours’ on whether to establish a travel corridor with the UK, a Spanish foreign ministry source said today.

Britain is currently in talks with Spain over whether to set up a bilateral travel agreement to facilitate tourism between the two countries and avoid a quarantine on travellers.

“Spain is willing to be open to the UK — we are in talks with them about their quarantine,” the foreign ministry source told Reuters. “We are in a position to open [our borders to UK tourists] without a quarantine.” 

The comments signal a sharp U-turn on the horizon, after Spanish foreign affairs minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on Tuesday Spain was considering imposing a quarantine on visitors from the UK, in response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to do so in Britain.

Johnson’s move has been met with stiff criticism from British airline companies, who have threatened legal challenges against the government over the potential impact to the travel industry.

Today’s announcement comes after weeks of deliberation from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez over whether to strike a travel corridor with the UK. A potential quarantine on UK travellers to Spain could significantly hamper the European country’s tourism-heavy economy.

Brits account for more than 20 per cent of the 80m tourists that travel to the Mediterranean country every year. Madrid has said it would negotiate with London to avoid a quarantine for both capital cities.