A British Airways flight from London to Portugal that was selling at £130 at 3pm on Friday had increased to £270 by 6pm – an increase of 108 per cent.
A surge of pent-up demand from travellers has sent air fares soaring to “green list” destinations – especially to Portugal, the only mainstream summer sun destination from which returning holidaymakers will not need to quarantine.
The BA departure from Heathrow to Faro, the airport serving the Algarve, was added earlier in the day after previous flights had sold out, with fares reaching £530 for the three-hour flight.
Airlines are swiftly adding capacity to Faro and other key locations, with British Airways launching new links to the Algarve airport from Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle from 29 May.
Just ahead of the announcement of the 12 green list countries by the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, The Independent checked fares on a range of routes.
Between Luton and Gibraltar, the 17 May departure on Wizz Air was priced at £63 just before 5pm. It increased to £110 within an hour, a rise of 75 per cent.
From Manchester to Faro on Saturday 29 May, the start of the half-term holiday for many schools, the afternoon departure on easyJet increased by £40 within minutes from £369 to £409.
The airline schedule analyst, Sean Moulton, said: “With Portugal being the sole major tourist destination on the UK green list, it was inevitable that airlines would increase capacity in these markets – with British Airways being first out of the blocks.
“Other airlines will add capacity and routes over the coming days, allowing the Algarve to being the prime destination for beach holidays for at least the next month.”
British Airways from London Heathrow to Lisbon on 17 May was already priced at £470 one way. Seats are remaining at that price.
A Liverpool-Malta trip on 3 July, returning a week later, on Ryanair, has remained at £60 each way. The island was widely expected to join the green list but was not included.
All fares checked on Friday 7 May before and after the announcement, on the airlines’ individual websites.