Ryanair expands service from the UK to Faro with 14 extra flights every week

Ryanair, the Irish low-fares airline, has announced it will be expanding its connection between the UK and Portugal over the coming weeks from September 11 to October 24, with 14 additional flights to Faro every week from 12 UK airports – including an extra weekly flight from Cardiff.

This move comes following Portugal’s sharp decline in Covid cases and the UK’s announcement to place it on the list of countries UK holidaymakers can visit.

To celebrate Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares starting from £19.99 one way, across the UK- Portugal network, for travel in September & October 2020.

Ryanair’s Eimear Ryan said: ‘Ryanair is thrilled to strengthen the connection between the Cardiff Airport and sunny Faro over the coming weeks with 3 flights per week – making it easier than ever for Cardiff holidaymakers to book that long awaited trip in the sun.

‘To celebrate the UK’s decision to place Portugal on its ‘safe list’ of countries UK travellers can visit, we have extended our seat sale on flights to Portugal in September and October, with fares as low as £19.99 one way. ‘

Cardiff Airport’s interim CEO Spencer Birns, added: ‘The global pandemic has created huge, unprecedented challenges for the aviation industry, and it has also affected our customers’ travel options. It’s great to hear that Portugal is now on the air travel corridor list for the UK, meaning that visitors to the country will no longer have to quarantine when they return.

‘We are very grateful that Ryanair has stepped in to provide more flights for our customers, who now have the option to enjoy a trip to this stunning destination this summer.’

Cunard extends stoppage of operations, confirms itinerary changes for 2021 and 2022 World Voyage

British cruise line Cunard has said that will be extending its stoppage of operations from November 2020 until March 25, 2021 for its ship Queen Elizabeth; until April 18, 2021 for Queen Mary 2 and until May 16, 2021 for Queen Victoria, due to issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: ‘We are so sorry to all those guests who were due to sail on any of the cancelled voyages and for the disappointment this news will cause. After very careful consideration and reviewing the latest guidance, we simply do not feel it would be sensible to start sailing again with our current schedule so we have reviewed future itineraries.

‘Queen Elizabeth has returned to the UK and with ongoing uncertainty over the re-opening of many ports and countries, it is sadly not practical to continue her planned itineraries for 2021. Therefore, in addition to the pause in operations, all of Queen Elizabeth’s sailings due to depart between March 26, 2021 and December 13, 2021, in and around Australia, Japan and Alaska, will be cancelled.

‘These voyages will be replaced with a programme of shorter duration European holidays ranging from three to 14 nights, departing from Southampton. These will start at the end of March 2021, with a series of scenic voyages around the coast of Cornwall, the west coast of Ireland and the Scottish Isles. There will also be short breaks to Amsterdam which will include an overnight in the city, as well as voyages to northern and southern European destinations including Norway and the Iberian coast, with several of these itineraries featuring overnight city stays.’

All new itineraries on board Queen Elizabeth will be available to book from September 29, 2020. ‘Queen Elizabeth’s new programme will be completed with a series of seven and 14 night voyages in the Mediterranean, sailing from Barcelona. It is an exciting new programme which I am sure will have great appeal,’ Palethorpe said.

‘Additionally, recognising the immense disappointment of those on board Queen Mary 2’s curtailed World Voyage this year, and the cancellation of her World Voyage in 2021, we are delighted that Queen Mary 2 will sail a classic World Voyage in 2022. This will replace her scheduled sailings departing January 3, 2022 to April 3, 2022, including the voyage to South America,’ he added.

The new 118 night adventure will depart roundtrip from New York on January 3, 2022 and include calls to Greece, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Australia and Bali before returning to Southampton via Abu Dhabi, Oman, Italy and Portugal. The ship will sail through the Suez Canal both on the outbound journey and on return. It will be bookable, either as a full world voyage or as one of six sectors, from September 8, 2020.

Cunard will be contacting guests and travel agents who are impacted and all guests who have had their voyage cancelled will automatically receive an enhanced 125 percent Future Cruise Credit or alternatively can fill in the website form for a 100 percent refund.

Full details of the changes to operations and options available to guests due to travel on cancelled voyages, as well as the latest updates, can be found at www.cunard.com, it said.

KLM increases flights from Newcastle to Amsterdam Schiphol

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has increased its services from Newcastle International Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol.

Starting August 3, the airline offers three flights a day to the Dutch capital. After a pause in services from Newcastle for a month, KLM resumed its daily service to Amsterdam on June 1. With the schedule increasing to three flights a day for August, passengers will have more choice and enhanced connection opportunities via Amsterdam Schiphol. Here, UK passengers can connect to the airline’s network of 165 destinations worldwide.

Benedicte Duval, General Manager for Air France KLM in the UK & Ireland said: ‘Our decision to increase the frequency on our Newcastle to Amsterdam service to three flights per day for August is a positive sign of recovery, after what has been, and still is, a challenging time for our industry. As travel restrictions across the UK begin to ease, we are increasing capacity in line with consumer demand.’

‘Naturally, safety is our number one priority as travel gradually resumes and we have introduced a range of measures to ensure passengers can travel with confidence,’ he added.

Leon McQuaid, Head of Aviation Development at Newcastle Airport, said: ‘The KLM route between Newcastle and Amsterdam is extremely important to both business and leisure passengers across the region. We are delighted to see signs of market recovery and KLM responding to demand by increasing to three flights a day – further improving the opportunity for connection between the North East’s largest Airport and destinations across the world.

‘Our recently introduced Ten Point Plan ensures the terminal is a safe environment for all and along with KLM’s additional safety measures on board their aircraft, we hope this will help to provide confidence to passengers looking to travel with us in the future.’

KLM has introduced a range of measures to ensure safe travel for both passengers and staff. Face masks are mandatory for both passengers and crew when boarding and during the flight. New aircraft cleaning procedures have been introduced including the disinfection of all surfaces in contact with customers such as armrests, tables and screens. In addition, the air in the cabin is renewed every three minutes, and the recycling system on board KLM aircraft is equipped with ‘High Efficiency Particulate Air’ or HEPA filters, identical to those used in hospital operating theatres.

Newcastle Airport has launched its Ten Point Plan of safety measures in June. New measures include an enhanced cleaning regime, mandatory face mask wearing, social distancing measures and hand sanitiser stations throughout the journey.

easyJet holidays commences summer holidays from Bristol Airport

easyJet holidays has commenced its summer holidays from Bristol Airport after travel restrictions and quarantine advice changed.

easyJet holidays has commenced routes to destinations such as Dalaman and Zakynthos from Bristol Airport. In preparing customers for holidays amid the continuing health risks due to Coronavirus pandemic, easyJet holidays has created a customer video and provided detailed information pages on its website – a Covid-19 response and a safety and wellbeing centre.

Matt Callaghan, Customer Director at easyJet holidays said: ‘This is a really big moment for us and it is hugely exciting to be taking our first customers away this summer. We know how important holidays are to us all and we also recognise that for many a holiday this year feels even more significant. We’ve made a series of commitments and put in a number of steps to help ensure customers can have a safe and enjoyable holiday. We’d also like to say a huge thank you to all of our partners for the part they have played in getting ready for today.’

Dave Lees, CEO, Bristol Airport said: ‘We are delighted to see the return of easyJet holidays to Bristol Airport today opening up even more opportunities and providing a wider choice of destinations for customers in the region. Holidays and a trip away are known to benefit personal wellbeing and never has a time been more significantly important in providing customers the opportunities of enjoying a well-earned holiday and some relaxing time away. As we see the number of destinations increase from Bristol Airport it becomes even more important to ensure our customers feel safe. We are confident we have the measures in place with Safe journeys start here, our three step plan, Get ready> Stay safe> Let’s travel providing the extra Covid measures to facilitate safe travel and allow customers to fly with confidence.’

The UK-based airline is also offering new comic book inspired face masks for children on flights. The masks, designed by Irish artist Will Sliney, who is known for his work on Marvel comics Spider-Man and Star Wars, are among the new measures the airline has introduced on flights to help ensure the safety of all customers and crew onboard.

easyJet holidays is offering a range of holidays bookable through to October next year. All holidays include 23kg of luggage per person, with transfers included on beach holidays.

Heathrow announces extended summer getaway season

Heathrow has announced its summer getaway schedule for 2020, offering travellers and holidaymakers increased choice in direct, short-haul travel.

Heathrow’s new summer network follows airlines’ decision to consolidate some of their operations into the UK’s Hub Airport. While most of the summer routes are being offered by Heathrow’s biggest carrier – British Airways, the airport has also welcomed new carriers, such as Czech Airlines.

Passengers flying from Heathrow now have a choice of over 25 new sunny, short-haul and low-cost leisure destinations to fly directly to, including numerous routes that are new to the airport – Dubrovnik, Genoa and Verona. Holidaymakers looking for a beach getaway are offered over 13 weekly flights to Greece via Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Heraklion. For passengers planning an Italian vacation and riviera waters, there are 10 weekly flights to Naples and three weekly flights to Genoa. And for those looking to stay closer to home, there are now five weekly flights to the Cornish coast, via Newquay and 21 weekly flights to Jersey for an island break.

The airport’s new routes come after strict safety protocols and the adoption of advanced technologies to protect passengers and colleagues from the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 at the airport. This includes UV technology to ensure the continuous disinfection of moving handrails, UV-ray cleaning robots, and self-cleaning anti-viral wraps fitted to security trays. ‘Fly Safe Pit Stop’ points are now available across the airport, where passengers can pick up face masks, anti-viral wipes and hand sanitiser free of charge.

Ross Baker, Heathrow’s Chief Commercial Officer said: ‘Heathrow is ready for another summer getaway season, with new technology and processes now in place to ensure our passengers are safe to fly. With our departure boards filling up with short-haul, low-cost destinations, travellers may be surprised with what’s on offer at the UK’s Hub airport and find themselves at Heathrow’s doors for the first time. Whether you are new to the airport, or if we are welcoming you back, Heathrow is ready to help you travel to reunite with your friends and family, to visit somewhere exciting and new, or to find some much-needed calm and relaxation.’

The food and retail experience at Heathrow Airport has also been transformed ahead of the summer schedule. In line with UK Government guidance, a wide range of retail is now open, from World Duty Free and Dixons Travel to the Harry Potter Shop. All shops, cafes and restaurants accept contactless payment, and by using the Heathrow app and Heathrow Boutique service passengers can ensure an entirely contact-free experience, ordering takeaway food to pick up and pre-reserving items before even getting to the airport.

British Airways to resume services to more destinations throughout July

British Airways has said that it will resume flying to more destinations across its network throughout July, operating fewer frequencies due to reduced demand amid global quarantine restrictions.

By the end of July, the airline will return to more short haul destinations across the UK and Europe, including Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. Lower fares available for those looking to get away include Nice and Barcelona from GBP55, Lisbon from GBP64, Rome from GBP65 and Malaga from GBP78, all each way.

Domestic flights will resume between London and Belfast, Inverness, Jersey, Manchester, Newcastle and Newquay, and the airline will move to double daily services to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

British Airways will also return to a few of its normal long-haul routes by the end of July. Services will resume across the Americas including flights to Bermuda, Dallas, Miami, Seattle and Toronto. These join flights to San Francisco, which restarted in June along with destinations including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (JFK) and Washington, with a limited schedule. The Caribbean will also see British Airways return from July to Barbados and Kingston.

In addition to Hong Kong and Singapore in the Far East, which were resumed in June, services to Haneda in Japan will also start operations.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: ‘Following months of lockdown and stress, we know people will want to travel to be reunited with friends and family and to take a well-deserved break.

‘We have put in place measures – to UK Government and aviation regulator standards – to ensure we’re doing all we can to protect the wellbeing of our customers and colleagues and we’ll be asking them to play their part in that too.’

British Airways has introduced a range of measures to keep its customers safe and is asking customers to abide by the new measures to help manage the wellness of everyone travelling. The measures include checking-in online, observing social distancing and using hand sanitisers available throughout airports, wearing facemasks at all times, PPE for cabin crew, a new food service that reduces the number of interactions required with customers, asking customers to avoid travel if they have any symptoms of Covid-19, as well as thorough cleaning and disinfection of aircrafts.

Virgin Atlantic to resume passenger flights to 17 additional destinations

Virgin Atlantic has said that it is planning to restart passenger flights to 17 additional destinations from August 2020.

The airline recently announced that flights from London Heathrow are expected to resume from July 20. Virgin Atlantic has now announced more detailed plans that will see passengers flying again to many destinations across its network.

Virgin Atlantic plans to resume flights from London Heathrow to: Hong Kong on July 20, New York on July 21, Los Angeles on July 21, Barbados on August 1, Shanghai and San Francisco on August 4, Tel Aviv on August 9, Miami on August 18, Lagos on August 23 and Atlanta on August 25.

Virgin Atlantic has decided to delay the restart of its flights to Orlando, which will now resume from London Heathrow and Manchester on August 24. Seasonal services from Glasgow and Belfast to Orlando will resume for selected dates in summer 2021.

The airline said that it is also planning to restart flights from London Heathrow to Washington, Seattle, Las Vegas, Mumbai, Delhi and Johannesburg during September 2020. Flights from London Heathrow to Boston, Montego Bay, Antigua, Grenada and Tobago are planned to restart during October 2020. This is when flights from Manchester to Barbados will also return.

Virgin Atlantic has announced additional measures to ensure safety during travel. These include thorough cleaning practices at all stages of travelling, adherence to safe distancing wherever possible and the use of face masks for all passengers and cabin crew. The airline recently revealed a new personal Health Pack that every customer will receive onboard a Virgin Atlantic aircraft.

Air France resumes operations from Birmingham Airport

Air France has recently said that it is resuming operations from Birmingham Airport to assist with essential travel and repatriation to and from the Midlands.

Starting June 15, Air France will operate the Birmingham – Paris route twice a week using an Embraer 190 aircraft. Frequencies will increase weekly with the daily service resuming on July 6. As the peak summer season approaches, Air France passengers will have the opportunity to connect to up to 150 destinations worldwide via Paris CDG.

Benedicte Duval, General Manager for UK & Ireland, said, ‘As borders reopen and travel restrictions begin to ease, we are fully focused on the safe and gradual resumption of air travel. After this challenging period, we are delighted to be able to welcome our Midlands based customers back on board. As we all adapt to this new environment, I can assure you that all Air France staff, both on the ground and on board, are committed to guaranteeing our passengers the highest levels of health & safety.’

Tom Screen, Aviation Director of Birmingham Airport said: ‘We are delighted that Air France will resume flights from Birmingham Airport on the 15th June. Air France has been a partner airline of Birmingham for many years and offers passengers direct access to Paris and onward connections to up to 150 destinations.

‘We want to reassure customers that their safety is our number one priority, and as we restart operations we advise all to please follow the health and safety guidance available on our website. We look forward to welcoming the return of Air France, and its customers, to the airport from Monday.’

In line UK government guidelines, Air France requires customers to wear a mask throughout their journey. This is in addition to a range of health and safety measures implemented by Air France in response to the COVID-19 health crisis, which include compulsory wearing of masks for all airline crew members and airport handling agents in contact with customers.

In addition, Air France has introduced temperature checks using contactless infrared thermometers for departing passengers. The customer channels on the ground have been modified with the implementation of physical distancing along the journey at the airport and the installation of Plexiglas protection screens at airports whenever possible.

Further, Air France aircraft will feature an air recycling system fitted with ‘High Efficiency Particulate Air’ or HEPA filters that extract some 99.99 percent of the smallest viruses, including those no larger than 0.01 micrometres. The airline will reinforce daily aircraft cleaning procedures and introduce a specific procedure for the periodic disinfecting of aircraft by spraying an approved virucidal product effective for 10 days. On domestic flights and short flights in Europe, meal and beverage services have also been suspended.

easyJet resumes services from Bristol with new bio security measures

easyJet has said that it is resuming flights from 22 airports across Europe for the first time since operations ceased at the end of March following efforts to mitigate the pandemic.

The majority of flights during June will be on domestic routes. The airline is planning to fly around 55 per cent of its Bristol routes in July and 80 per cent in August, with a lower frequency of flights. The move will allow customers to enjoy a summer holiday to a wide variety of city and beach destinations including the city staples of Paris and Barcelona; summer sun favourites the Balearics and Canary Islands and lively hotspots in Portugal, Greece and Croatia.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager commented: ‘We are really pleased to be relaunching our flights from Bristol and welcoming customers back onboard today. While we are starting with a small number of flights this will build over the coming weeks to cover around 55% of our Bristol routes in July and 80% in August. This is good news for customers wanting to go on their planned holiday over the summer or wishing to book a break away.

‘Of course, the safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew remains our highest priority. This is why we have implemented a number of measures enhancing safety at each part of the journey from disinfecting the aircraft to requiring customers and crew to wear masks. These measures will remain in place for as long as is needed to ensure customers and crew are able to fly safely as the world continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.’

Nigel Scott, Business Development Director, Bristol Airport said: ‘We are delighted to see easyJet flights return to Bristol Airport. The Belfast route opens up travel opportunities for essential key workers needing to easily access Northern Ireland using their local airport. We liaise closely with Government, Department for Transport and Public Health England on the latest information and guidance for customers.

‘We are working closely with easyJet to expand the routes available in the future from Bristol Airport when the time is right.’

A new range of additional measures are in place to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of all customers and crew onboard. These include enhanced aircraft cleaning and disinfection; customers, cabin crew and ground crew will be required to wear masks; and equipping the aircraft with spare sanitary equipment including masks, gloves and hand sanitiser to ensure these are available to customers and crew at all times onboard.

Customers will be able to practice social distancing in the airports, at gates and during boarding. Onboard, and where possible, customers may be able to sit at distance where seats are available. There will also initially be no food service onboard flights, all of which operate on a short-haul network.

The measures have been implemented in consultation with aviation authorities ICAO and EASA, and in line with relevant national authorities and medical advice through the airline’s chief medical adviser, Bristol said.

Cunard extends suspension of operations

Cunard, the luxury British cruise line, has said that as a result of the continued impact of Covid-19, it will be extending the suspension of its operations.

Cunard currently operates three ships: Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, with destinations including Europe, the Caribbean, the Far East and Australia. For its ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, Cunard is cancelling all sailings that were due to depart up to and including 1 November, 2020 and for Queen Elizabeth, departures up to and including the 23 November, 2020.

Cunard President, Simon Palethorpe, said, ‘With many differing restrictions across countries, people’s ability to move freely and safely across borders remains seemingly someway in the distance. For Cunard, where we celebrate having a truly international mix of guests and sail all over the world, this becomes particularly impactful. We also need to better understand the implications Covid-19 will have on board our ships. We are therefore working, at the highest level possible, with government bodies, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the CDC – and Public Health England, as well as the industry collective body – CLIA – and other expert medical professionals to review every aspect of a holiday with us.’

‘Whilst we have always taken pride in having the highest levels of health and safety, we are looking at enhanced protocols across all aspects of ship life and experiences on shore. We will only return to service when we have a comprehensive restart protocol with the stamps of approval and accreditation from the most trusted and informed sources,’ Palethorpe added.

Cunard will be communicating with all guests, and their travel advisors, who are booked on affected voyages, it said. As Cunard has done earlier during this pause period, guests who are booked on cancelled voyages will automatically be given a 125 percent Future Cruise Credit. This can be redeemed against any new booking made by the end of December 2021 on any voyage that’s on sale at the time of booking.