The Portugal News Air Bridge Campaign

in News · 21-07-2020 11:56:00 · 57 Comments

The Portugal News has launched a campaign to lobby the UK government to try to change their mind regarding the air bridge between the UK and Portugal.

The decision of the UK government to exclude Portugal from the 75 countries and territories that are exempt from 14 day quarantine on returning to the UK is adversely affecting the Portuguese tourist industry here on the Algarve and also tourists from the UK looking to enjoy time in the region.

2.5 million people visit every year from the UK, the majority coming late July and August and the decision to exclude Portugal is based, in our opinion, on false information. The Portuguese government has handled the virus outbreak superbly and that is borne out in the figures below.

- Only 1,691 deaths in the country from coronavirus and 48,771 total infections.

- In the Algarve where most of the UK citizens love to visit only 15 deaths from 790 cases

As a publication that supports all business in Portugal and the tourism industry, as well as our UK readers, the UK citizens based on the Algarve, the UK citizens employed in the tourist industry and the UK citizens that love to visit the Algarve each year we want to help to rectify this situation.

As such we have launched this campaign to raise awareness of the unique Portuguese situation and put forward logical reasoning as to why the UK government should change their mind.

We are asking our readers and those that support the changing of the decision of the air bridge to sign a petition by clicking here and for those living in the UK to send a lobby letter to their local MP.

To send a lobby letter all you have to do is:

  1. Highlight the text in BOLD below
  2. Copy this text (Ctrl C)
  3. Click on this link to find your local MP
  4. Insert your home postcode
  5. Select your MP displayed (this may be more than once)
  6. Click on the email address for your MP
  7. Your email will now open
  8. Paste your text (Ctrl V)
  9. At the bottom of the email be sure to include your full name and address
  10. Send Email

As well as you our readers supporting the campaign through signing the petition and sending lobby letters to your MP, we at The Portugal News will also be working to highlight the campaign through letters to Boris Johnson and other key members of the British government, contact with the Portuguese authorities and sharing the campaign across our social media platforms with more than 75,000 followers. We will also be publishing regular updates in our printed newspaper which reaches 60,000 people a week and 600,000 unique visitors to our website each month.

The Portugal News is committed to working with the local community and businesses to ensure that Portugal continues to be recognised as the safe destination that it always has been and continues to be.

If you would like to send a lobby letter to your MP then please feel to copy the text below or alternatively draft your own letter explaining the reasons why the UK government needs to reverse their decision on the air bridge.


I am writing to express my concern that Portugal is not included in the 75 countries and territories that the UK government does not require 14 days quarantine upon returning to the UK. The Portuguese government has acted superbly in response to the coronavirus as is shown by the results below.

- 1,691 deaths in Portugal from coronavirus from 48,771 infections in a population of 10.9 million

- In the Algarve 15 deaths and 790 infections. Approximately 2.2m UK citizens visit the Algarve each year.

As you are my MP I wish that you contact the government to change the status of Portugal so 14 day quarantine is not required when returning from the country.

This is having a detrimental impact on British citizens that love visiting Portugal, British citizens working in the Portuguese tourist industry and Portuguese citizens relying on the tourist industry.

I look forward to hearing a positive response from you.




I am from Lisbon originally, have been in the UK for 6 years working. Always paying tax.
Worked throughout lockdown helping patients with pain and advise.
I have booked 1 week at the end of August to see my family and get mental relief of the hard time I had, as I thought quarantine will be lifted by then.
Now, I have another problem to stress me out. Instead of helping people this government is jailing us in this country but giving free pass for unnecessary business within.
What upsets me the most is "oh we can add you anytime"! So... I am meant to cancel my booking till last minute? Waiting for gov to decide?
Basically, UK government thinks the danger comes from outside rather than from inside.. Making us quarantine, but what about the people that are already here crowding at the beach and pubs? They are enjoying life and getting furlough payment instead of self isolate?!
Quarantine is on site for a few months now so why are the cases raising again?
Do not understand... Forbidding ppl to travel but not to put limits inside your own country..
Please remove quarantine and close pubs (for example) please.

By Vera Bacalhau from UK on 10-08-2020 02:46

Olá eu tenho férias marcadas para ir ao meu país que é a ilha da Madeira na 10-8-2020 na segunda feira estou com bilhetes pagos e com despesas já pagas e pelo facto de ter que comprir quarentena meu trabalho me proibe de sair do uk porque se eu sair do uk eu serei despedido isto não é justo nem para mim nem para a minha família que tb tem bilhetes comprados para ir nem para todas as pessoas que estão a passar pelo mesmo que eu nos trabalhamos no duro o ano inteiro para depois nos acontecer isto a ilha da Madeira tá tudo muito controlado não ouve um caso de morte por conta do vírus e tou achar muito desnecessário o que nos estão a fazer sinto-me triste e muito deseludido por mim pela os meus e por todas as pessoas que estão a passar pelo mesmo que eu

By Suse from UK on 06-08-2020 07:27

This is a nonsense not allowing the UK holiday makers, There has been 5 deaths since the coronavirous started here in the Algarve, every day I go to the beech and the place is packed, So where do all these people come from, In my opinion it is the safest place to come for a holiday IN THE WORLD (AND THAT IS THE ALGARVE)

By Michael from Algarve on 06-08-2020 04:56

Important for the Portuguese economy

By Maria Martins from Lisbon on 05-08-2020 05:52

There is absolutely no logic for the UK government not to include Portugal in an air bridge allowing UK citizens into Portugal and returning without having to quaratine.
Perfectly managed the Covid-19 virus and deserve the right to be included with majority of the EU

By John Lywood from UK on 01-08-2020 04:14

What else can you expect from a guy like Boris Johnson and his side-kicks. UK citizens still manage to get here, by flying to France and driving, by ferry and driving through France. It then becomes a farce which cannot be 'policed'

By Graham Ellis from Algarve on 30-07-2020 11:28

We have been coming to Portugal for 14years now was supposed to be there in march but holiday was cancelled due to virus. We are booked to come over on 17th October so we are hoping that Portugal gets the air bridge. Dont see why they dont give Portugal the air bridge as its spotless

By Jemima Frame from UK on 27-07-2020 10:23

I'm from madeira my dad got cancer havent seen him in 5 years in April my flight got cancelledis been so safe there and we get tested on arrival too and only have to wait 12 hours for results if negative you free to do your life.
Why can't we compromise in here . I live in UK for 22 years always work and paid my taxes people should be free to go back and come do same as madeira test people on arrival .
Isolate for 2 days but free after that .
Yes you have so many countries free quarantine how safe you are no one got it .stupit basing on cases really .
We work hard in UK pay taxes agree free travel quarantine do same as portugal get all people tested on arrival from everywhere.
Doesn't matter is bridges testing everyone give people change to free

By Marcia from UK on 27-07-2020 09:19

I've been working very hard on front line during this pandemic time, putting myself and my family lifes in risk, lost my mum in january, just need to go back and be with my family, i think mentally i really need this break, been working 7 days a week during the pandemic, don't even had the time to start grieving, please let us go and have a break

By Monica Formas from UK on 26-07-2020 07:19

I copied the letter from your paper, sent to my MP who came back with a complete load of waffle, not relevant to the air bridge at all. It's very clear he didn't read it or worse understand it. When I look at what's going on in the UK, and the total ineptitude shown in handling the crisis in general, it just reinforces our decision to live here in this beautiful, friendly country.

By Nigel Darvill from Algarve on 26-07-2020 11:16

Take a look at the Portuguese public health care system before quoting numbers. Many cases in The Algarve are registered in Lisbon as patients are moved there. I have first hand experience of this. The Algarve has a massive problem with the lack of doctors and nurses. Don’t break a bone in The Algarve at the height of the tourist season last year there was one orthopaedic doctor in the Algarve. The reason ? Salary , pay health care workers the same as a cleaner in a Uk hospital guess what happens. Faro public hospital is a health hazard and would be closed in any other country. It’s nothing to do with numbers, it’s the fact that the public health system in the Algarve couldn’t cope with any sort of outbreak. And yes I’ve had this told to me first hand.

By Ian from Algarve on 26-07-2020 09:30

I think this is a ridiculous decision by the government to stop tourists visting the Algarve we have been visting with my family for years and we all love it. We have booked to stay in a private house and really looking forward to spending some time on one of the amazing beaches which are never crowded.

By Trudy jones from UK on 25-07-2020 08:39

The simple reason is the state of the Public Health Service. There’s a huge shortage of doctors in Algarve hospitals. They couldn’t cope with an large outbreak. Try going to Faro hospital with a broken bone, they’ll tell you there’s only one orthopaedic doctor in The Algarve !! I’m told first hand by a doctor here that they couldn’t cope. Stop paying doctors €1000 per month and they might not go elsewhere.

By Ian from Algarve on 25-07-2020 03:56

Great initiative but suggest you include the stats for Madeira in your suggested text to MPs. Highlights even more the absolute absurdity & inconsistency of the UK Govt. decision ...I’m flying from Funchal direct to LHR today & will have to quarantine for 14days ..but those arriving into LHR from Barcelona won’t!

By Philip Wiles from UK on 25-07-2020 12:41

Stop descrimination. Just like Brexit, another way to push immigration out of the UK,, by making people not welcome and unhappy.

By Luis Miranda from UK on 25-07-2020 01:35

I finish my quarantine period tomorrow after spending the previous 2 weeks on the algarve. Bio security and general response to Covid is excellent and I felt far safer there than I have in the UK. I received 1 call from a government representative on day 2 to check I understood the rules. Not heard from them since. I have signed the petition and sent the letter. I hope you get a positive decision soon. Meanwhile, I have booked more flights to return in September and again over Christmas.

By Margaret from UK on 24-07-2020 11:13

With briefly words description of this smell behind this story keeping Portugal of...this stinks ,stinks really badly around London area with whole them clown's in the government Boris & grant ..being jockeying with people's faces since July , what can we think about this ? Since last few days Spain being over the roof with high risk areas and lockdown ,last night 2176 new cases !!! This on and on all week !!! How come British government missed that ?? They haven't missed ! So simple as that ... obviously there are political issues against Portugal also possible racial discrimination !!!! Please everyone stop gathering this issues online ,, nothing will be done .. nothing... tourism's it's heading to Spain doesn't matter what ,put all this in your consciousness,it won't happen , Britain won't given air bridge this year ...if Marcelo &Costa was clever enough I would cut from the bottom whole relations with's hard and might wouldn't be the best option but ....what we have being seen since begging July ??? Political descrimination ,abuse of power and jockeying with people's life's and concerns..on my opinion I would let always the doors open to British people always welcome...but the government !!! I've lost all my respect completely ..I haven't no respect to at all.. hope Portuguese government will in meant time given UK a good pay back for all this horrendous wounded caused..

By joe santos from UK on 24-07-2020 09:35

Portugal have the least cases of coronavirus in Europe why the UK leave Portugal out of the airbridge I don't understand

By Orlando Rocha from UK on 24-07-2020 08:46

I disagree with the UK keeping Portugal out of the airbridge for the reason that Portugal has less cases of coronavirus compared to most countries in Europe

By Orlando Rocha from UK on 24-07-2020 08:43

Excellent initiative by the Portugal News. I have copied the text and posted on my FB page asking all friends in the UK to lobby their own MPs . We all need to help the beleaguered Algarve businesses that are suffering so unnecessarily. I suggest we all get behind this initiative and ask friends to support it too.

By Sally Martel from UK on 24-07-2020 07:13

We go to the algarve several times a year, our favourite holiday destination. Can anyone please explain the science behind minimal cases of coved in the algarve , then of today a massive spike in areas of Spain but no air bridge removed crazy or am I missing something.

By Philip Gregory from UK on 24-07-2020 04:47

In March I chose to stay in the Algarve rather than return to my home in the UK. I expected the Algarve to be safer than the UK and a far healthier, less stressful place for socially distancing. I was right and for the UK government to now hamper travel to the Algarve, but not to many other countries, on the basis of Covid 19 infections, makes no sense to me at all.

By Anne OConnell from Algarve on 24-07-2020 02:47

Great letter thanks. I have just sent to my MP. Fingers crossed

By Annabelle schaffer from UK on 24-07-2020 12:24

Please don't bring your drunks and infections to our home here in the Algarve.

Tourists have zero respect for the Algarve,they simply see it as a place they can ignore all the socials norms from back home.

On top of all that the pay is 600 euros a month before tax for many of the workers.That despite the outrageous prices from greedy hoteliers,restaurants and bars owners and landlords.

Please don't come

By James from Algarve on 24-07-2020 11:15

Please include us in the airbrige in Portugal
as our family can not visit us here if they have to quarantine for two weeks

By Pauline from Algarve on 24-07-2020 10:47

I am currently self isolating 3 days to go we had a wonderful time the Portuguese were fantastic felt safer
With adhering to rules.Hopefully Britain as a whole country together opens the Algarve to all.

By Alex Fullerton from UK on 24-07-2020 10:24

I hope they open it on Monday I’m a key worker and that’s only in August I can see my family.

By Manuel Cristeto from UK on 23-07-2020 06:12

Anyone wanting to go to Portugal this autumn should look at the Rental Car Hire prices first. Talk about price gouging. Many times higher cost than your flight plus hotel

By David S from UK on 22-07-2020 08:09

Thank you for listening!

By Tony Fernandes from Other on 22-07-2020 05:50

We’ve had our apartment in Portugal for 18 years and missing the wonderful lifestyle and people. I have contacted our MP today using your useful letter.

By Jen Enticott from UK on 22-07-2020 05:18

Portugal should NOT open any air bridges. Things are ok here. As soon as people start moving again, it is going to undo everything we have sacrificed for. I’m sorry for people trying to get to their second homes or vacations but that puts people here at risk.

By Mark from Algarve on 22-07-2020 05:01

Honestly i've never understood this lock on the air bridge between Uk and Portugal,it's just doesn't make any sense when you compare it to other countries.They want to keep most of us and spend our money here to help the economy.Come on, we wnt to go on holidays!

By Carlo Pirona from UK on 22-07-2020 02:43

I have written to my MP, great campaign - thank you

By Bob Stewart from UK on 22-07-2020 02:09

How can it be OK to go to Spain and other countries that have a much higher rate than Portugal? Why are these decisions not being made on a weekly basis as are lock down decisions in the UK? Just does not make a great deal of sense!

By THOMAS from UK on 22-07-2020 12:44

Great initiative The Portugal News, well done!
We work in England and if the air bridge does not happen we won't be able to visit our family this year.
So hopefully things will change in the next review ????????????????????????????????

By Marta from UK on 22-07-2020 10:08

I'm in the UK for 3 years now. Going to Portugal for me it's not holliday, is family.
Please allow us to go and see our families, and come back to work.

By Hugo Silva from UK on 22-07-2020 09:21

Even worse in Ireland, there is a considerable amount of social criticism even if you think of going away. We stress the low rates in the Algarve but you risk of becoming a pariah at home if your travel

By Aidan from Other on 22-07-2020 08:52

@Jim I understand it's frustrating but you must be able to see why Portugal and rest of Europe have said no entry to Americans. Remember we're still not able to go to US as well.

By A concerned citizen from UK on 22-07-2020 08:50

I leaving for the Algarve this morning from Dublin
can’t wait from everything I’ve researched it is safer than Dublin

By Shane Skerrett from Other on 22-07-2020 05:20

Outstanding initiative by The Portugal News!! The argument stated is clearly understood, and concise. The concern is for all parties affected...well done.

By William from Other on 22-07-2020 01:20

Why didn't Portugal News publish my earlier comment on this? Afraid of the reality? Or it just doesn't fit your good wishes? The UK has managed the pandemic quite poorly and Portugal despite its better approach is far from having reached a healthy plateau yet! Look at the numbers and trends easily available at the Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Dashboard Graphs’ site ( They closer reflect the reality than the PN desires and your readers complacent opinions! Or it is more important the UK/Portugal tourism and real estate industries than the lives of the many citizens from both countries who might get closely exposed to a deadly virus still very active, spreading and killing 4-5% of the people affected! “The worst blind is the one who doesn't want to see!”

By Tony Fernandes from Other on 22-07-2020 01:18

Why does there have to be 14 days quarantine returning to UK don't understand it safer there then anywhere

By Davinder nagra from UK on 21-07-2020 10:59

Being in contact with friends in the Algarve they are constantly informing us of how safe it is in the Algarve . Please allow an airbridge so we can help our friends businesses

By Julia Rolfe from UK on 21-07-2020 08:20

I am portuguese and work in the UK. I have not seen my family since 2019. If there's a second wave, I don't know when I will. My family live 200 miles away from Lisbon which is the region where there's been a slight increase in covid cases... And yet, I can't travel to see them thanks to this UK rule.

By Jo from UK on 21-07-2020 08:20

The figures are freely available from the ECDC,

The 4th column is the important indicator of recent virus spread. Portugal has 3 times the recent cases than the UK in the last 14 days. These are the figures the UK government are basing their decision on. It makes sense. I would also argue Spain should have quarantine reimposed.

By Scott from Algarve on 21-07-2020 08:10

Portugal is our oldest ally.

They need us now.

Please ipen the air bridge.

By Robert Hayter from UK on 21-07-2020 07:11

As long as it is good for the economy and the well-being of some rich ones, the authorities should not disregard the number of cases and deaths caused by the pandemic in Portugal! Even if the spread of the disease in that country is not among the worst cases we needs to think that it's much more important to be safe first and vacationing only after! Just look at the graphs showing the evolution on the disease in Portugal and England! Not very good right now! Not promising at all after the authorities decided to relax the rules and their enforcement in early May!

By Tony Fernandes from Other on 21-07-2020 06:53

We have a home on the Algarve that we love and can't get to. We think the UK is hoping that all of us will holiday in the UK and spend our money there.

By Isobel Macdonald from UK on 21-07-2020 06:41

I need to go on holiday

By Nina Harper from UK on 21-07-2020 06:27

I would like to get to my Villa in Lagos and enjoy my holiday. I also want to continue renting it to the British who rent it every year. I live in New York and believe there is no logical reason for England to carry on with this ridiculous decision. Portugal never met the numbers of cases that Spain had and yet Brits are allowed to go there without a problem? Portugal needs the business now desperately

By Jacquie Fricchione from USA on 21-07-2020 06:06

Open it up already lost my annual holiday to VDL

By Stephen clarl from UK on 21-07-2020 05:40

Portugal has handled this pandemic so well I do not understand the UK governments decision for no air bridge absolutely ridiculous

By Carol Welch from Lisbon on 21-07-2020 04:52

We would also like to travel to our beloved home in the Algarve from Ireland. Missing it so much this year!

By Anne O'Mahony from Other on 21-07-2020 03:30

I am in portugal now holiday and I can say it is safe and I dont agree with the UK government not giving portugal an air bridge,but they let people gather in pubs at 6am in the morning,i would rather be here in portugal than the UK.

By Cheryl graves from UK on 21-07-2020 03:19

Please allow us to visit our families and still be able to come back to our jobs.

We are home sick

By Adekanmi Sunday Adewuyi from UK on 21-07-2020 02:48

I'm from the US and we'd love to come visit! We'd actually planned on buying a home in the Algarve, but we can't get there, even though we are completely healthy.

By Jim Leland from USA on 21-07-2020 01:54

Extremely important for the Portuguese economy

By Lynda Soares from UK on 21-07-2020 01:14
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.