British Airways announces resumption of transatlantic flight from Gatwick to Tampa

Following the reopening of US borders for British holidaymakers, British Airways has announced the resumption of its first US transatlantic flight from Gatwick to Tampa, Florida.

The airline’s services to Tampa will operate three times a week. British Airways will also resume flights from Gatwick to holiday-hotspot Orlando on Friday November 19. This is the first time the airline has operated to these destinations, and to the US from Gatwick, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

British Airways is planning on operating to 23 US airports this winter, more than any other transatlantic carrier, with 246 flights a week from January. Besides Tampa and Orlando from Gatwick, flights to much loved cities Nashville and New Orleans will restart in December from Heathrow.

Claire Bentley, Managing Director of British Airways Holidays, said: ‘Orlando and Tampa are among our most popular destinations, so we know how much our customers are looking forward to heading back. Florida is such a diverse state, so whether it’s a relaxing beach holiday, a theme park adventure or an epic road trip, there’s something for every type traveller. In addition, we’re offering a wide range of British Airways Holidays deals to suit every budget.’

British Airways Holidays is also offering a number of holiday and fly-drive packages to Florida, including seven nights at the 3-star Ramada by Wyndham Kissimmee Gateway, Orlando from £499pp, travelling on selected dates between January 10 – January 31, 2022 inclusive; seven nights at the 3- star Universal’s Dockside Inn and Suites, Orlando from £969pp, travelling on selected dates between January 1- February 28, 2022 inclusive; seven nights at the 4-star Holiday Inn Harbourside, Florida Beach (Tampa): from £599pp, travelling on selected dates between January 10- February 10, 2022 inclusive and seven days at Tampa, fly-drive from £699p travelling January 1- 28 February 22. Reservations can be made before December 6, at www.britishairways.com.

British Airways operated its first flight to the US when restrictions lifted on November 8 to JFK airport on the airline’s BA001 service. The airline’s A380s will operate to the US once again, with the super jumbo jet operating to Miami from Heathrow from December 5, Los Angeles from December 9 and Dallas from March 27. The airline is currently operating seven flights a day to New York, increasing to eight from mid-December.

easyJet launches new domestic summer routes from Bristol to Aberdeen and Jersey

easyJet has announced the launch of its first flights on two new domestic summer routes from Bristol.

The flight from Bristol to Aberdeen will operate up to four times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays with fares starting from £24.99. Meantime, flights from Bristol Airport to Jersey will be operating three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with fares starting from £14.99.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager, said: ‘We are delighted to be celebrating the launch of our first flights from Bristol Airport to Aberdeen and Jersey for the first time. These routes further strengthen our network from Bristol and provide more connectivity for our customers whether they are reuniting with loved ones, connecting for business, or want to explore more of the UK this summer.

‘We are proud to be the largest airline in Bristol and remain committed to offering customers great value fares and more choice when they fly with us.’

Dave Lees, CEO, Bristol Airport said: ‘We are delighted to welcome customers to easyJet’s services to Jersey and Aberdeen this weekend. Connectivity with the rest of the UK is extremely important and easyJet being our largest based airline has been integral to unlocking these key air links. We will continue to work with easyJet, enhancing and developing the route network for the future.

‘The routes offer improved choice and flexibility to customers wishing to travel within the UK and provides surety and confidence to customers when arranging the long-awaited family visit, a well-deserved holiday or business trip.’

‘Safety and security of our customers and colleagues remains our key priority and is at the forefront of all planning and preparations we have in place for customers. We will continue to work closely with airlines, the government, Department for Transport and Public Health England on the latest information as it becomes available.’

All customers booking flights with easyJet receive its ‘Protection Promise’. All 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.

Jet2 commences holiday flights to sun destinations

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, the leisure airline and package holiday specialist, has said that it has recommenced its flights and holidays programme to four sunny hotspots, following the latest UK Government advice on international travel.

Jet2 has commenced the service of 22 flights from Belfast International, Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, London Stansted, Manchester, and Newcastle Airports, with customers travelling to Green List destinations, including the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza) and Madeira. This is in addition to the company’s programme of flights and holidays already operating to Jersey. Starting July 2, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays will also start operations from its tenth UK base, Bristol Airport, flying customers to Majorca and Menorca on their first ever flights from the base.

Following reports that the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza), Malta and Madeira have been put onto the Green List, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays reported a huge increase in bookings to these destinations, with customers booking for July and August holidays. Jet2.com and Jet2holidays has also put additional flights on sale to Madeira, representing thousands of extra seats on sale in July and August from Birmingham and Leeds Bradford Airports.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘We are delighted to see our flights take off again today and to be resuming our award-winning flights and holidays programme to the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza) and Madeira. We have seen 22 flights depart from Belfast International, Birmingham, Glasgow, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle and London Stansted today, and we have been filling those flights up thanks to a surge in bookings for flights and holidays in July and August.

‘We know how much pent-up demand there is from our customers and independent travel agents to enjoy our award-winning flights and real package holidays once again, and we have already added extra flights to Madeira to cope with demand. It is fantastic to be back in the air and doing what we do best – delivering award winning customer service and package holidays you can trust! We look forward to more destinations being added to the UK’s Green List very soon and taking more customers away on their much-needed holidays.’

Ryanair launches new routes this summer as Europe opens up

Ryanair, the Irish low fares airline, has announced a new route from Manchester to Verona, operating twice weekly from July, as part of Ryanair’s UK Summer 2021 Schedule.

Additionally, Ryanair has announced a new route from Teesside to Faro operating twice a week from June 16. This new route expands Ryanair’s offer from Teesside following the airline’s return to the region this Summer with routes to Alicante, Faro and Palma de Mallorca from June, and to Corfu from July.

Alongside the announcement, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from GBP19.99 for travel until the end of October 2021, which must be booked by midnight Thursday, May 20 only on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Director of Commercial, Jason McGuinness, said: ‘As vaccination rollout programmes continue in the coming months and with the summer season just around the corner, we are delighted to announce this new route from Manchester to Verona, operating twice weekly from July as part of our UK summer’21 schedule.

Mindful that Covid restrictions change regularly, customers can now book flights for a well-deserved break knowing that if they need to postpone or change their travel dates, they can do so up to two times with a zero-change fee until the end of October 2021.’

Commenting on the Teeside route, McGuinness, added: ‘We are very pleased to announce a new route from Teesside to Faro on the back of the UK’s green list announcement. Teesside customers will now have the choice of four popular destinations this summer, with flights to Alicante, Faro and Palma de Mallorca from June, and Corfu from July.

Teesside Airport continues to deliver efficient operations and competitive airport charges, allowing for long-term traffic growth and new routes.’

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: ‘This is fantastic news, and yet another vote of confidence in our airport. Of course, it has only been made possible because of the tremendous take-up of Ryanair’s flights to Alicante and Palma by local people.

We’ve been working hard over the past few months to transform our terminal, get it fit for the 21st century and make it easier and smoother than ever to pass through. We can’t wait to welcome people back through our doors for these great summer breaks – and our growing slate of other domestic and international flights.’

British Airways announces flight schedule for November

British Airways has said that it will operate 52 long haul routes alongside its short haul network this month as the airline continues to adapt to changing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline will continue to operate to US gateways including New York JFK, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, with Newark added to the schedule. Flights to the Caribbean continue to destinations including Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia, and flights will operate to destinations across Africa, the Middle East and Asia such as Dubai, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Flights to Santiago, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, are also set to return.

Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said: ‘We continue to connect Britain with a substantial number of destinations across the globe and customers tell us they are reassured by the safety measures we’ve put in place, including personal protection packs, screens, sanitiser stations, adapted meal services and customers and colleagues in masks.

‘The risk of contracting Covid-19 during a flight is incredibly low. IATA, the global aviation industry body, suggests that since the start of 2020 there have been as few as 44 cases of Covid-19 linked to flights. Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled. This figure amounts to one case for every 27 million travellers.

‘We believe the best way to get people flying again is to introduce reliable and affordable testing before flying. When this happens and demand returns, we stand ready to reintroduce even more destinations to our network, and carry on connecting even more families, friends and businesses.’

British Airways will also continue to serve domestic destinations including Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Newquay. In continental Europe, cities like Paris, Munich, Geneva and Amsterdam, among others, will be connected to Heathrow by frequent, direct flights. There are also regular flights to beach destinations such as Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

The operation of any flight is subject to changes, international restrictions and government approval, British Airways said, adding that the airline has a range of measures to keep customers safe when they travel, both at the airport and on board.

Jet2 resumes flights and holidays programme from Birmingham Airport

Jet2 has said that it has recommenced its flights and holidays programme services from Birmingham Airport and will operate to 33 destinations this summer.

Recommencing the services, 10 Jet2 flights have departed from Birmingham Airport to holiday destinations in Heraklion (Crete), Menorca, Majorca, Malaga, Corfu, Skiathos, Fuerteventura, Split, Zante and Tenerife, where travel restrictions have been eased. The company said that it will operate to 33 destinations this summer from Birmingham Airport, giving customers choice for their holidays, as well as assurance that their stay will be quarantine-free.

The full list of destinations on sale for Summer 20 with Jet2.com and Jet2holidays by country includes Malaga, Alicante, Costa de Almeria, Murcia in Mainland Spain; Ibiza, Menorca, Majorca in Balearic Islands; Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, Gran Canaria in Canary Islands; Antalya, Dalaman, Bodrum in Turkey; Pula, Dubrovnik, Split in Croatia; Larnaca, Paphos in Cyprus commencing August 1; Prague in Czech Republic starting September; Bergerac in France; Corfu, Crete (Chania), Crete (Heraklion), Skiathos, Kos, Rhodes, Zante in Greece; Budapest in Hungary; Krakow in Poland; Rome in Italy starting September and Faro, Madeira in Portugal, commencing August 1.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘We have been saying for some time that the sun will shine again and that when it does, we will be there to take customers away on their well-deserved holidays from Birmingham Airport. That day has finally arrived and we were delighted to see our first flights take off. It is fantastic to be back in the air and recommencing our award-winning flights and package holidays to sunny destinations across Europe, the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.’

‘The safety, well-being and comfort of our customers is our number one priority. Thanks to our three-step pledge, customers are in safe hands when they travel with us. Through our industry-leading customer service, customers know they can rely on us to deliver everything needed to make their holiday a happy and healthy one.’

Tom Screen, Aviation Director of Birmingham Airport said: ‘It was great to see the Jet2.com and Jet2holidays aeroplanes take to the skies from early this morning. Jet2.com and Jet2holidays are valued partners of Birmingham Airport and we are delighted to welcome both the airline and its customers back.

‘Customers who travelled this morning will have noticed a new customer journey as they travelled through the airport. We have installed thermal imaging testing on entry to the airport, screens to protect our customers and colleagues at check-in, social distancing markings and hand sanitiser stations throughout the customer journey. Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of our customers and colleagues while they are in the airport.’

Blue Islands to return to Bristol Airport in August

Channel Islands airline Blue Islands is returning to Bristol Airport on August 3.

The airline has launched a new brand identity, new routes, new website and a new product offering. Tickets with new fare options have also gone on sale at blueislands.com. Customers are being invited to sign up to the airline’s new Blue Skies Club frequent flyer programme.

Announcing the launch, Rob Veron, CEO Blue Islands, said, ‘We have been working really hard behind the scenes over the past few months with the aim of re-emerging, post pandemic, stronger and better than ever. We look forward to serving the Channel Islands again with extensive Guernsey schedules to Jersey, Southampton and beyond, together with our services from Jersey to Bristol, Southampton and new routes Birmingham and Exeter.

‘Channel Islanders told us that they want flying to be simple and easy again with no hidden costs and stresses over bag restrictions. We’ve listened, taking all the ideas onboard, and we are proud to announce our new product offering, refreshed brand identity and new website. No gotcha’s, we are focussed on simplifying regional air travel, making sure that our product and service offerings, are uniquely tailored to the needs of our passengers. Whether flying for business or leisure we are making flying a pleasure again and we know that it’s the little things that matter and make the welcome difference.’

Blue Islands, formerly a Flybe franchisee, had re-established itself as an independent carrier after the collapse of Flybe in March. While the islands have been in lock-down to contain the virus spread, Blue Islands has provided lifeline services for Jersey, operating essential flights to both Southampton and Gatwick.

‘[This] is just the beginning. There will be more announcements in the coming days and weeks ahead. We would like to encourage everyone to explore our new website and fare options, plus learn about the wellbeing measures we have implemented. Sign up for regular updates and also register for our Blue Skies Club, our new frequent flyer programme that will truly reward our regular customers. We are very much looking forward to welcoming our passengers onboard soon,’ Mr Veron added.

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.

Ryanair to restore 40% of scheduled flights starting July

Ryanair, the Irish low cost airline, has said that it plans to return to 40 percent of normal flight schedules from Wednesday, July 1, 2020, subject to Government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted, and effective public health measures being established at airports.

Ryanair will operate a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, restoring 90 percent of its pre-Covid-19 route network. Since the Covid-19 flight restrictions in mid-March, Ryanair has been operating a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights between Ireland, the UK and Europe. From July, Ryanair will restart flying from most of its 80 bases across Europe. Full details of these routes, frequencies, flight times, and promotional prices are available on www.Ryanair.com

Ryanair is urging passengers to observe effective health measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 virus. These include fewer checked bags, check in online, downloading boarding pass via smart phone, as well as undergoing temperature checks at airport entry and wearing face masks/coverings at all times in the terminal and on board aircraft.

All Ryanair aircraft are fitted with HEPA air filters (similar to those used in critical hospital wards) and all aircraft interior surfaces are disinfected every night with chemicals, which are effective for over 24 hours. While temperature checks and face masks/coverings are key to this healthy return to service, social distancing at airports and onboard aircraft will be encouraged where it is possible.

On board its aircraft, Ryanair offers limited in-flight service of pre-packaged snacks and drinks, but no cash sales. All onboard transactions will be cashless. Queuing for toilets will be prohibited on board and toilet access will be made available to individual passengers upon request. Ryanair encourages passengers to regularly hand wash and use hand sanitizers in airport terminals.

Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said: ‘It is important for our customers and our people that we return to some normal schedules from 1 July onwards. Governments around Europe have implemented a 4 month lockdown to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. After 4 months, it is time to get Europe flying again so we can reunite friends and families, allow people to return to work, and restart Europe’s tourism industry, which provides so many millions of jobs.

Seats on all these flights are now on sale at www.Ryanair.com from 1 July, at prices which start from just EUR19.99 one way. We will continue to work closely with public health agencies to encourage our people and passengers to adopt practical and effective steps to limit the spread of Covid-19 virus, in the best interest of our passengers, our people and our communities.’

As EU States emerge from their respective Covid-19 lockdowns, Ryanair will also require all passengers flying in July and August to fill in details (at the point of check in) as to the duration of their visit, and also their address while visiting another EU country. This contact information will be provided to EU Governments to help them to monitor any isolation regulations they require of visitors on intra-EU flights.

Heathrow to commence COVID detection trials to reduce risk of Coronavirus transmission

London Heathrow has said that it will test out technologies and processes that could reduce risk of Covid-19 transmission while travelling, driving the development of a Common International Standard for health screening globally.

The trials – which will assess for medical effectiveness, passenger response as well as suitability to the airport environment – could form the basis of a Common International Standard for health screening at all global airports. Before any new measures are rolled out across the airport, they will be reviewed against Heathrow’s three tests to ensure that they are medically grounded, build consumer confidence and practical for airports to deliver.

The concepts under review as part of the Heathrow trials include: UV sanitation, to quickly and efficiently sanitise security trays; facial recognition thermal screening technology to accurately track body temperature; and contact-free security screening equipment to reduce person-to-person contact.

The first of the trials will be a temperature screening technology that uses camera detection systems capable of monitoring the temperatures of people moving through the airport. The passenger-facing trials will first be conducted in the airport’s immigration halls, and if successful will be introduced in departures, connections and colleague search areas. The trials will begin in the next two weeks in Terminal 2.

Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: ‘Aviation is the cornerstone of the UK economy, and to restart the economy, the Government needs to help restart aviation. The UK has the world’s third largest aviation sector offering the platform for the Government to take a lead in agreeing a Common International Standard for aviation health with our main trading partners. This Standard is key to minimising transmission of Covid-19 across borders, and the technology we are trialling at Heathrow could be part of the solution.’

As an international hub airport, Heathrow follows an international standard and is already required to carry out temperature checks by some other countries. Temperature screening was introduced following previous outbreaks of SARS and Ebola, with some countries using thermal checks as a control measure against COVID-19.

Data from trials on COVID-19 mitigation will be shared with Government, aviation industry and other UK airports to drive the creation of a Common International Standard for health screening. Holland-Kaye has been urging the UK Government to lead the global implementation of a Common International Standard, to ensure continued passenger safety and restore confidence in travel as countries prepare to ease their respective lockdowns.