British Airways launches new services from Belfast with routes to Exeter, Leeds Bradford, Newquay and Glasgow

British Airways has announced the launch of four new domestic routes from Belfast this summer, providing key links between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK at a time when booking a holiday abroad remains uncertain.

Over the next few months, the airline will start to operate 18 flights a week between George Best Belfast City Airport and Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford and Newquay airports.

Starting from June 16, 2021, British Airways will operate flights from Belfast City to Exeter on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and to Leeds Bradford on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The airline will operate services from Belfast City to Cornwall Newquay starting from July 3, 2021, twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday; while the new Belfast City- Glasgow service will be operated starting August 2, 2021 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

The new routes will run alongside existing British Airways services between Belfast and London City and London Heathrow airports. The additional services will be operated using BA CityFlyer’s existing fleet of Embraer 190 aircraft. Customers can book via ba.com, with return fares from Belfast to these new destinations starting from £48 each way.

Tom Stoddart, Managing Director of BA CityFlyer, which will operate the new routes, said: ‘We’re delighted to announce these new services from Belfast, which will enhance our regional network and maintain vital connections between Northern Ireland and other key UK destinations.

‘We’re sure these routes will be popular with customers getting away for a UK holiday this summer, as well as those visiting friends and relatives, and we’ll continue to listen to their feedback about where they want to travel.’

Katy Best, Commercial Director at Belfast City Airport, said: ‘Continuity on these services is excellent news for domestic connectivity to and from Northern Ireland. Operated by Embraer 190 jets, these routes will greatly complement the existing British Airways services to London Heathrow and London City enabling passengers to enjoy the excellent British Airways experience to a greater number of destinations.’

British Airways to fly The British And Irish Lions to South Africa this summer

British Airways has said that it will fly the 37-strong British & Irish Lions squad to South Africa on June 27 for the much awaited Lions Tour.

The Lions’ tour in Johannesburg will see the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales embarking on an eight-game Tour of South Africa, including three Tests against World Champions, the Springboks.

Both The British & Irish Lions and Springboks will be carried across the country to matches by British Airways’ franchise partner, Comair.

The team will be heading directly to Johannesburg on a charter flight from Edinburgh, following The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup clash against Japan at BT Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday 26 June at 3pm.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: ‘We are honoured to be flying The British & Irish Lions to South Africa ahead of their tour. After a difficult year, we look forward to uniting the nation through sport and cheering them on. From everyone at British Airways, we wish them the best of luck and hope to carry them home as champions.’

Ben Calveley, Managing Director for The British & Irish Lions, said: ‘We are delighted to be flying with British Airways for the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series. We know the squad and management will receive a warm welcome from British Airways staff and enjoy a safe, comfortable journey to South Africa, landing in Johannesburg ready to take on the world champions.’

British Airways is reinforcing its commitment to sport as the airline is currently the Principal Partner to Twickenham Stadium, Official Airline Partner to England Rugby and has been the Official Airline Partner to Team GB and Paralympics GB since 2008.

The British & Irish Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, since the first Tour in 1891.

Wizz Air to commence new service from Cardiff to Jersey

Wizz Air UK, the UK-registered and based airline of European airline group, has said that it is set to launch its first ever domestic service from Cardiff Airport, its newest base, with flights to Jersey.

Starting July 9, 2021, the new flights will operate twice weekly on Monday and Friday, with fares starting from £17.99. One carry-on bag in included, while the trolley bag and each piece of checked-in baggage is subject to additional fees. The price applies only to bookings made on wizzair.com and the WIZZ mobile app. Tickets are available now on wizzair.com or the airline’s app.

With a sunny climate, Jersey and the surrounding Channel Islands is an ideal getaway for UK holidaymakers. The largest of the archipelago, Jersey has beautiful sandy beaches and aquamarine waters. Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the island with its cliffside walking trails, while the underground hospital complex built during WW2 is an attraction for history enthusiasts.

Owain Jones, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK, said: ‘The Wizz Air UK team is working hard to ensure that summer 2021 is not cancelled, by continuing to provide low-fare flights to the destinations that our UK customers love to travel to. After an extremely challenging year we know that our customers are looking to get away for some sunshine and relaxation. Jersey has it all: uncrowded beaches, natural beauty and rich history. We are looking forward to offering Welsh customers the opportunity to explore Jersey and the surrounding Channel Islands. The Wizz Air UK crew will be welcoming passengers on board our young and green aircraft to provide the excellent onboard service we are known for.’

Spencer Birns, CEO at Cardiff Airport, said: ‘We’re delighted that Wizz Air has re-instated an in-demand service to Jersey, starting in July. The route will allow our customers to travel easily to reconnect with friends and family, and take a well-earned break to enjoy Jersey’s great beaches and warm weather. We’d like to thank Wizz Air for their continued support, and we look forward to the base opening this summer.’

Southampton launches new BA’ CityFlyer route to Faro, opens new rapid COVID-19 testing facilities

Southampton Airport has recently announced the launch of a new British Airways (BA) service from Southampton to Faro.

The new CityFlyer service form Southampton directly connects England’s south coast with popular holiday destinations in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Germany. Under a new agreement with Southampton Airport, the airline will operate up to 18 flights each weekend to 12 locations. The seasonal arrangement will run alongside existing services from London City Airport.

Rachel Riley, BA CityFlyer’s Head of Commercial at Southampton airport, said: ‘As we welcome more customers back on board, the launch of today’s operation from Southampton is an exciting extension of our service.’

‘This is a special day for many people, families have been separated from loved ones overseas, businesses have suffered, and we know that our customers haven’t been able to take the breaks abroad that they’ve wanted.’

Matt Hazelwood, Group Commercial Director at AGS Airports Ltd, added: ‘BA’s commitment to deliver connectivity for Southampton and the wider region to some of the most popular destinations in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Germany will be very much welcomed by our passengers now that the safe restart of international travel is underway.’

Separately, Southampton Airport said that new rapid COVID-19 testing facilities have been introduced at the airport. The move follows the successful introduction of testing facilities at Aberdeen and Glasgow airports in March this year. The terminal-based facilities offer passengers both PCR and antigen testing.

Steve Szalay, Operations Director at Southampton Airport, said: ‘The introduction of these fantastic on-site testing facilities will not only provide our passengers with a quick and convenient service, they will be instrumental in providing support to our safe restart plans as international flights resume following the lifting of restrictions earlier this month.’

Brittany Ferries sails from Plymouth to Spain after eight-month layoff

After an eight-month layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brittany Ferries has finally sailed to Spain from Millbay Docks in Plymouth.

The first ferry left Millbay at 4:45pm on Sunday, June 6, with 807 passengers, 180 crew members and 421 vehicles making the voyage, before arriving in Santander at around 2pm on Monday afternoon.

The trip was undertaken by the company’s flagship ferry boat, the Pont-Aven, with spirits said to have been high among passengers and crew.

A Brittany Ferries spokesperson said: ‘It’s an exciting day here on the port. The sun is shining and it’s full of happy customers who are excited to be going on their holidays. There’s a real sense of normality in the air, as well as a sense of summer which has been much needed.’

At full capacity, the Pont-Aven can accommodate 2,400 passengers, 650 cars and has a total of 650 cabins, but in order to meet health requirements, the number of passengers allowed on board has been significantly reduced. Self-service restaurants have replaced A La Carte services and the main bars on all ships will not be open due to a change in the French government’s guidance.

While the sailing was seen as a step towards normality, passengers must still adhere to a number of Covid guidelines, including the wearing of masks, social distancing and utilising sanitising stations on deck. The ferry boat’s shops cinemas, playrooms and video games rooms have now opened with limited capacity, and with some on-board entertainment also now available.

Birmingham Airport announces Covid-19 drive-through service

Birmingham Airport has said that Cignpost ExpressTest, a division of Cignpost Diagnostics Limited, will open a drive through Covid-19 screening service at the airport.

The new facility offers a Fit to Fly testing service that passengers will be able to use, following the resumption of international leisure travel on May 17. The site will be beneficial for members of the public who are asymptomatic and so do not qualify for NHS emergency testing, but require a negative result either to visit family members, or to fly abroad.

The tests on offer are priced at £80 per person for travel passengers and £99 per person for the test-only service. ExpressTest is delivered using the latest gold standard PCR equipment that is fully CE-IVD certified, and tests are carried out by trained Screening Practitioners.

Christian Corney, CEO of Cignpost ExpressTest, said: ‘At Cignpost ExpressTest we are passionate about providing customers with very best testing experience as they prepare to travel. We have seen increasing desire for testing since international travel resumed in England and expect to see increased demand in the coming days and weeks. Our new drive through centre at Birmingham Airport builds upon a strong pre-existing partnership and will be a great addition to our nationwide services. We are proud to bring Covid-19 screening services to the local community, and whether for personal or business travel, we remain committed to delivering the best possible service at an affordable price.’

Al Titterington, Terminal Operations Director of Birmingham Airport, said: ‘We are pleased to have developed and expanded the fit to fly testing service here at the Airport. Following the success of Cignpost, which opened in January within the terminal building, this new drive through service ensures our customers can book tests with even more ease and convenience.

‘Here at Birmingham we are continually putting our customers first by ensuring that as thetravel restrictions change we have the right facilities in place to assist our customers and guarantee they are fully prepared for their trip.’

The drive through facility expands on an existing partnership between Cignpost ExpressTest and Birmingham Airport, with a walk-in site being open since January. The facility will accommodate 8drive-through lanes with a testing capacity of 8,064 tests per week.

The Birmingham Airport facility is one of ten new Cignpost ExpressTest sites to open across the UK before the end of June. Besides being a selected provider of discounted COVID-19 testing to British Airways, the company also provides gold-standard PCR tests at Gatwick, Heathrow and Edinburgh Airports, as well as at Brent Cross Shopping Centre.

Since the resumption of international leisure travel on May 17, Birmingham Airport has seen an increase in passenger numbers with airlines restarting several new flights to Portugal, Madeira and Greece.

British Airways Holidays launches exclusive offer for summer holidays at Heathrow

British Airways Holidays has said that it has launched an exclusive offer for customers booking summer holiday packages, featuring complimentary airport experiences at London Heathrow Terminal 5.

The offer applies to holidays with departure dates between June 9 and September 30, 2021, for those travelling in Euro Traveller, World Traveller or World Traveller Plus (economy and premium economy) as part of a Flight + Hotel and/or Car holiday package.

Customers will automatically qualify when spending a minimum of £1,500pp for two people or more, for a minimum of five nights. Existing bookings will also be eligible. Those travelling in Club World or Club Europe (business class) and spending a minimum of £2,500pp will also be eligible for First Wing check in and complimentary access to the Galleries First Lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 5, both of which are exclusive for premium customers.

Ranging from tropical beach holidays to city explorations, the offer applies to all destinations, and features: Premium check-in allowing customers a speedier check-in experience in a designated area of the terminal; Fast Track Security; British Airways Galleries Club Lounges access; and priority boarding starting from June 21, 2021.

Claire Bentley, Managing Director of British Airways Holidays, said: ‘After the last year, we know how much our customers are looking forward to getting away this summer. We want to make their experience extra special as we welcome them back to travel, by helping them to begin their holiday in style.’

‘It’s the first time we’ve offered something like this exclusively for British Airways Holidays customers – we believe it’s a brilliant way to celebrate the joy of travel, while continuing to offer flexibility and security for peace of mind.’

The offer includes deposits starting from £60pp, ATOL protection, and three weeks’ notice needed for free amendments or cancellations in return for a voucher in case of a change of plan.

Eastern Airways launches new Cardiff-Belfast air service

Eastern Airways, the UK-based regional airline, has announced the launch of its new service between Cardiff Airport and Belfast City Airport, as Wales regained its air service connection to Northern Ireland.

The new route is currently the only air service linking the entire island of Ireland with Wales. With fares on the new route starting from GBP62.99 one-way, including a complimentary 15kg hold bag and all taxes and charges, flights are available to book at www.easternairways.com

Roger Hage, general manager, Eastern Airways, said: ‘As the UK’s regional airline already serving all four home nations, connecting Belfast to Cardiff as passenger confidence returns is critical to supporting the tourism and business sectors and helping people unite with families again.

‘Eastern Airways is all about supporting the regions of the UK, connecting people and places, so adding further services at hubs we already serve is another crucial part in the economic recovery and prosperity of Wales and the Island of Ireland.’

Spencer Birns, CEO at Cardiff Airport said: ‘We’re delighted to once again be able to offer our passengers a vital connection to Belfast City from Cardiff, starting today. The route has been one of our most in-demand since the collapse of Flybe last year and is an important connection for customers travelling for business and to visit friends and relatives. We are pleased that Eastern Airways has re-instated the service and I’d like to thank the airline for their continued confidence in regional connectivity from Cardiff.’

Commenting on the launch, Katy Best, commercial director at Belfast City Airport, said: ‘The return of a route to Cardiff is welcome news for both the Airport and those wishing to reconnect with business, family, and friends in Wales.

‘Belfast City Airport is the only airport on the island of Ireland to provide connectivity with Wales and we’re delighted that our airline partner, Eastern Airways, has committed to this service.

‘Today’s flight marks the beginning of a busy period for the Airport, with a number of new routes taking off in the coming weeks. We’re seeing an increase in demand for travel, and it’s fantastic to offer these options to our passengers.’

Eastern Airways already offers a service from Belfast to Southampton, while in September, aligned to Welsh Government easing of domestic restrictions, the airline will restart the route from Cardiff to Anglesey. The airline has also added the Mediterranean British overseas territory of Gibraltar as an international green list destination from both Birmingham and Southampton Airport.

easyJet launches first flight from Bournemouth to Belfast

easyJet has announced the launch of its new service between Bournemouth and Belfast, marking the launch of more convenient connectivity this summer between the South of England and cities across the UK.

The flight to Belfast is the first of two new domestic easyJet routes from Bournemouth launching this summer, the other being Edinburgh, which launched on May 27. Both routes will operate twice weekly, with Belfast on Wednesdays and Saturdays and Edinburgh operating on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer season, with fares starting from £40.99 per person.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager said: ‘We are delighted to have operated the first flight today and to be increasing our services from Bournemouth Airport. With the addition of the two new summer routes from Bournemouth, our customers now have more travel choices in the region for those looking to take a long-awaited summer break.’

Steve Gill, Managing Director at Bournemouth Airport, said: ‘The launch of domestic air connectivity between the South of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland is a milestone moment for Bournemouth Airport. The long-awaited return to flying is wonderful news for business and leisure passengers, giving a boost to the regional economy and enabling holidaymakers to take welcome ‘staycation’ breaks in Bournemouth, Belfast and Edinburgh – some of the UK’s most popular destinations.’

easyJet customers will now be able to change their flights this summer without a change fee, at any time up to two hours before departure, or request a voucher. There are no restrictions on dates or destination; customers can transfer to any flights currently on sale up to the end of September 2022, and to any other destination on the airline’s network which spans 35 countries across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Loganair announces new Scotland-Wales flight service

Loganair, the UK’s largest regional airline, has launched its new service between Edinburgh and Cardiff, starting August 2.

Flights will be operated on Loganair’s 49-seat Embraer 145 regional jets, with prices on the 1hr 25 min trip starting at £49.99 one way including taxes and charges. Tickets are now on sale, and all Loganair fares include a free checked baggage allowance.

The direct flights – five per week in each direction – represent the last major route to be restored by Loganair and other carriers, reintroducing the domestic connectivity lost when Flybe collapsed in March 2020. The flights will operate on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. The Cardiff service adds to the eight others already flown from Edinburgh by Loganair, including Southampton, Newquay and the Isle of Man.

Kay Ryan, Loganair’s chief commercial officer, said: ‘I know many of our customers – both business and leisure – have been waiting for this service to resume, and we are very pleased to be able to add Cardiff to our Edinburgh roster.

‘Importantly, these services fill gaps left by the collapse of Flybe, with almost every lost domestic destination now being restored by Loganair and other carriers over the coming months.’

Kate Sherry, aviation director at Edinburgh Airport, said: ‘We’re excited to be reconnecting the capitals of Scotland and Wales, a route which will allow family members to reunite as well as enable people to enjoy a well-earned break in Edinburgh and Cardiff. It’s been an extremely tough period and we know people are looking forward to enjoying some time away from home, and this is further good news as the airport looks to provide those opportunities for our passengers. Loganair is a valued partner and its confidence in Edinburgh Airport is welcome now and going forward.’

Spencer Birns, CEO at Cardiff Airport said: ‘We’re pleased that Loganair has stepped in to re-establish a vital connection between Wales and Scotland with a regular Cardiff-Edinburgh service. Customers will once again be able to fly easily for business and to visit friends and family, as well as have the opportunity to travel for a well-earned city break or to explore Scotland’s beautiful scenery.

‘It is a top priority for us to re-instate routes lost as a result of the pandemic, and we are delighted that Scotland’s airline has announced this essential service for our customers, increasing regional connectivity from Wales. We look forward to working closely with the Loganair team going forward.’

Loganair has a comprehensive FlySafe protocol in place requiring all customers, unless medically exempt, to wear face coverings; social distancing through boarding and disembarkation; and additional aircraft cleaning and sanitisation between every flight. These protocols will remain in place for as long as reasonably required through public health precautions, it said.

Further, Loganair’s FlexProtect programme allows customers to change their bookings or obtain a refund, if there is a change in Government legislation or rules that affects their travel plan.