Analysis: Balearic Islands Sent Back To The Amber List

That didn’t take long. Despite the Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Majorca, and Menorca being put on the UK’s green list two weeks ago, they will be downgraded to amber on Monday, July 19th. Back in July and August 2019, a significant 2.6 million flew from the UK to the islands, the UK’s CAA shows. Looking at this July and August, there are 64 routes across seven airlines and from 26 UK airports. We explore what’s on offer.

BA A321neo
On July 31st, British Airways has 16 departures from Heathrow to Palma, Ibiza, and Mahon. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying.

Fortunately, it is not as bad as it could have been, as fully vaccinated people won’t need to quarantine from the day it comes into effect. According to the UK Government, some 34.8 million residents of the UK (52.2% of the population) are now fully vaccinated.

However, it is still a backward step, particularly as families and younger travelers will be affected. And it highlights once again how things can change – and quickly. This uncertainty does not help to increase confidence, which is so vital in helping to recover. This is especially problematic for the UK, which is recovering slower than other major European nations.

The UK to the Balearics
There are 64 routes this July and August. Manchester to Palma has the most seat capacity. Wizz Air UK has two routes: Cardiff and Luton to Palma. A third, Doncaster to Palma, has been pushed back to September. Image: OAG Mapper

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

What has changed?

The Balearics have been downgraded to the amber list, along with the British Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Sierre Leone will all become red, requiring hotel quarantine on arrival in the UK.

However, it is not all bad news. Hong Kong and Bulgaria have been upgraded to green, with the resorts of Borgas and Varna growing destinations for UK tourists. Passengers arriving back from green countries will not need to quarantine, even if they haven’t been fully vaccinated. The inevitable question is: for how long will they be green?

Norwegian 737-800
In July and August 2019, nine airlines flew between the UK and the three Spanish islands. Norwegian, Flybe, and Thomas Cook no longer do (Norwegian from closing its Gatwick base and the others from ceasing to exist). In contrast, Wizz Air UK has joined the list. Photo: Norwegian

Seven airlines from the UK to the Balearics

Based on the latest available data from July 12th, seven airlines have non-stop service from the UK to the Balaeric destinations of Ibiza, Mahon, and Palma. This is based on the peak months of July and August and is according to schedules information supplied by them to data experts OAG.

With nearly 600,000 round-trip seats in July and August, Jet2 has the most capacity and, therefore, the greatest exposure. It has about one-quarter of the 2.1 million available seats.

  1. Jet2: approximately 576,654 seats
  2. Ryanair: 454,257
  3. easyJet: 452,917
  4. TUI: 436,814
  5. British Airways (including BA Cityflyer for simplicity): 259,590
  6. Wizz Air UK: 29,174
  7. Vueling: 7,572
Jet2 first Bristol departure
Jet2 has the most capacity in this peak summer. It has 30 routes from 13 UK airports. These include three routes from its new Bristol base. Photo: with the kind permission of Simon Fewkes.

26 UK airports connected to them

Showing how important the three Spanish islands are to the UK, some 26 airports are connected to them on a non-stop basis this July and August. These include Southampton, which is reconnected with Ibiza and Palma by BA CityFlyer following the end of Flybe. A 27th airport (Humberside) was to be served by TUI, but its sole route (Palma) has been pushed back to 2022.

Vueling A320 getty Images
Vueling serves one UK airport from these Spanish islands: Cardiff. It has three routes to the Wales airport, but only one from the Balearics (Palma). It began in 2012 and now operates between two and three-weekly. Photo: Getty Images.

Top-10 UK airports to the Balearics

Manchester has the most seats, as shown below the image, with Jet2, Ryanair, TUI, and easyJet all serving the islands. In comparison to July and August 2019, Manchester has jumped to first place, displacing Gatwick.

Gatwick has lost three airlines to the Balearics, meaning just easyJet and TUI now serve it. The greatest loss, whether permanent or just temporary, is British Airways shifting to Heathrow. This explains why the UK’s leading airport has risen from 13th to third.

BA from Heathrow to Palma
British Airways (currently) has eight outbound flights (!) from Heathrow to Palma on July 31st (notice the one-way fares!). In addition, it has six to Ibiza and two to Mahon. Image: Google Flights.
  1. Manchester: approximately 337,086 seats
  2. Gatwick: 265,557
  3. Heathrow: 207,846
  4. Stansted: 186,732
  5. Birmingham: 163,092
  6. Bristol: 161,399
  7. Luton: 119,600
  8. East Midlands: 114,723
  9. Leeds Bradford: 103,256
  10. Newcastle: 102,356

Are you going anywhere this summer? Let us know in the comments.