Brittany Ferries confirmed that it will not operate a UK-Portugal ferry route in summer 2021.
Reports first emerged two weeks ago that the French cruiseferry company was considering a Portsmouth/Plymouth to Leixoes (Oporto Portugal) service to cater to the demands of UK travellers wishing to sail to “Green-listed” Portugal. Subsequently, it was confirmed by the company such a route could start before the end of May.
Brittany Ferries sent a team to Porto Portugal before making the final decision, including the company’s Fleet Director, Port Director, Strategy Director. The visit's primary focus was to ensure the infrastructure and linkspan would support Brittany's use.
Despite the positive operational and technical outcome, everything changed because of the announcement that Spain would welcome British tourists again from May 24.
Brittany Ferries believes that Spain will be added to the “Green List” of the United Kingdom in June. New COVID cases in Spain have fallen to the lowest level since August 2020 and the vaccination programme is moving quickly with ~50% of all Spaniards now vaccinated.
According to Christophe Mathieu (Brittany Ferries' CEO), technically, they could open a route to Oporto, but the game had changed rapidly with the announcement from Spanish authorities.
“It simply wouldn’t make sense to open a new route – and displace passengers already booked on services to Spain – if our second biggest market is open for business. We hope and expect Spain to be placed on the UK’s green list at the first review in early June and for that reason we took the decision to shelve the plan.”