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.

Aviation industry looks into future travel arrangements

‘de-densification’ and ‘neutralisation’ are now the catchphrases as the aviation industry looks into future travel once permitted to restart from the current grounding of passenger aircraft.

According to a report in The Independent, Alexandre de Juniac, director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said that governments and health authorities will impose strict new rules intended to reduce the spread of Covid-19 when aviation restarts at scale. The concept of ‘de-densification’ and ‘neutralisation’ will be applied onboard as measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

De-densification refers to the reduction in passenger numbers to facilitate social distancing within the aircraft, while neutralisation refers to the process of specifying seats that must remain unoccupied.

Mr De Juniac said: ‘De-densification, if it is requested by the civil aviation and the health authority, will be by neutralising one seat in each row among the two rows of seats of short-haul aircraft.’

‘That is a complete shift of the business model of airlines operating short-haul aircraft,’ he added. On a Ryanair aircraft normally holding 189 passengers, with the middle seats unoccupied, only 126 would be allowed on board, the report noted.

Further, the CAA guidelines specify that the aircraft toilets must be cleaned after they have been used 10 times. Airlines cannot sell the last three rows of seats on international flights, which must be ‘reserved as a quarantine area for handling possible in-flight emergencies’. The rear lavatory on the right side should be designated for the exclusive use by those under quarantine. One flight attendant will be assigned to look after the passenger, and ‘should refrain from close contact with other crew members’.

Following this reduction, airlines would face higher costs, which will inevitably be passed on to the passenger, the report noted. If airlines are required to cut passenger numbers by one-third, fares could rise by 50 per cent, the report said, though the exact increase would depend on supply and demand.

Blue Islands revises schedule to retain essential lifeline routes amid COVID-19

Blue Islands, a privately owned Channel Islands based regional airline, has implemented a revised timetable, effective from Tuesday March 17 until Sunday April 12 to ensure the maintenance of critical lifeline routes for essential travel.

The move as comes after announcements by the States of Guernsey and the Government of Jersey advising islanders to consider avoiding all non-essential travel to and from the islands, to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 outbreak.

The island communities rely on the services of Blue Islands for essential travel for medical purposes. In order to sustain these vital links, Blue Islands will operate morning and evening inter-island services between Guernsey and Jersey, as well as twice daily Guernsey to Southampton and Jersey to Southampton services plus a daily service to Bristol. The full revised schedule is available at https://bit.ly/3b2VU34 .

Neil Garwood, Managing Director of Southampton Airport said, ‘Maintaining connectivity to the Channel Islands from Southampton is of paramount importance to us. My team is fully committed to working with Blue Islands to keep this service going and effectively managing the impact of Covid-19.’

Customers who have booked on a service that is not operational while the revised schedule is active will be automatically moved to the nearest available flight and/or an alternative airport. They will receive an email notification advising of this change.

For better flexibility, passengers booked for travel up to and including 12 April may change their flight to another date and route without any change of fees, though subject to fare difference as applicable. Flight bookings and email updates is available at www.blueislands.com.

‘The health and safety of our passengers and crew is always our highest priority. Blue Islands is responding quickly to this situation and our team is working hard to meet our customers’ needs,’ the airline said, seeking the support and patience of customers to tide over through the crisis period.

British Airways announces flights to Europe from £40 each way

British Airways has announced that it is offering thousands of hand-baggage-only flights to Europe available for £40 or less each way.

Customers can choose from a range of over 70 routes across the airline’s European network including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Kefalonia, Faro and Verona. The airline is also including domestic flights between London and UK cities in its offer, such as Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Belfast City and Jersey. Customers can explore destinations and book a weekend cultural break or a beach holiday at ba.com, with fares from £40 each way or less based on a return fare in Euro Traveller. All flights include free hand luggage.

Andrew Brem, British Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: ‘It’s time to shrug off the cold and the rain. With flights for £40 or less each way, there’s something for everyone to look forward to, with fantastic value for those wishing to soak in the culture and charm of a city break or the summer sun on a beach in the Mediterranean. Take advantage of our hand-baggage only fares or enjoy guaranteed savings with a flight and hotel package together.’

The seats, based on return fares, are available for travel on select dates until December 31, 2020. The low fares are on offer from London Heathrow and London Gatwick. The additional destinations available include Bilbao, Geneva, Ibiza, Milan, Oslo and Paris.

Members of the British Airways Executive Club can earn Avios and Tier Points on their bookings. The Executive Club is free to join and Avios can be spent on Reward flights, upgrades, hotels, car rental and being used for part payment, allowing customers to cut the cost of future flights. When using Avios part payment, customers can select from a range of savings by destination and cabin, and can also collect Avios and Tier Points on their bookings.

British Airways is presently offsetting carbon emissions on all its flights within the UK, as part of its commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, it said.

easyJet announces new route from Bristol to Antalya next summer

easyJet, the UK-based European regional airline, has said that it will launch a new route from Bristol to Antalya in Turkey for summer.

The new flights will operate three times a week on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer, providing travellers from the South West with a direct route to the Turkish resort, alongside routes already operated to Dalaman and Bodrum.

Situated on the Turquoise Coast, the port city of Antalya presents several historic attractions and is known for its stunning blue waters.

Flights will take off from May 3, 2020, and the new service is expected to carry over 23,000 customers during its first season. Seats are now on sale at www.easyjet.com, with fares from £28.99.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager commented, ‘We are delighted to confirm today that we will be launching a new route from Bristol to Antalya. As the largest airline at Bristol we’re focused on strengthening our network and providing our customers in the South West with excellent services by offering great value fares, a convenient schedule and more choice when they travel.’

Nigel Scott, Business Development Director, Bristol Airport said: ‘This is exciting news extending the number of easyJet destinations available from Bristol Airport and adding Antalya to the route network. The additional route demonstrates the long-term collaboration and joint growth strategy between easyJet and Bristol Airport. For customers in the South West it offers another sun destination and continues to increase the choice and flexibility of flights available to passengers in the region selecting to fly from their local airport.’

Antalya is the seventh new destination easyJet has added to its Bristol network in 2019. In October the airline launched a new route from Bristol to Hurghada in Egypt and earlier this year to Montpellier and Biarritz in France, Milan and Brindisi in Italy and Rhodes in the Greek Islands.

TUI UK announces holidays to Sharm El Sheikh from Doncaster Sheffield for 2020

TUI, one of the world’s largest holiday companies, has recently announced the relaunch of holidays to Sharm El Sheikh from Doncaster Sheffield Airport, with flights starting in May 2020.

TUI’s service to the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh will give customers more choice of winter sun and summer breaks. With the service, the UK holiday company will give customers an opportunity to return to the Red Sea resort. Resorts including TUI Magic Life Sharm El Sheikh and Reef Oasis Blue Bay on the Red Sea coast will be on sale, with more hotel announcements under way.

Located between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea, Sharm el-Sheikh is known for its calm sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs. Naama Bay, with a palm tree-lined promenade, has several bars and restaurants. The resort is also popular with those seeking water sport activities such as scuba diving and snorkelling among the coral reefs. Ras Muhammad National Park is a popular diving destination, with marine life around the Shark and Yolanda reefs and the Thistlegorm wreck.

Mark Hall, Director of Product and Destination Experience TUI UK & Ireland, said ‘At TUI we’re committed to offering our customers an outstanding choice of holidays across the globe. Sharm el Sheikh was always a hugely popular destination and I am delighted to confirm that we are reintroducing the Egypt favourite to our summer 2020 programme.

In response to customer demand, our first flights from Doncaster Sheffield will operate from May 2020 and our resorts are all looking forward to welcoming our customers back with a smile.’

Chris Harcombe, Aviation Development Director, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, said: ‘We are delighted the TUI is reintroducing flights to Sharm El Sheikh from Doncaster Sheffield Airport and its great news for our customers that we can now offer flights to this popular holiday destination.

‘It’s another win for DSA coming hot on the heels of TUI announcing two new routes, Fuerteventura and Heraklion for next summer and fifteen extra weekly departures on existing routes by adding a fourth aircraft to their successful base, here in Yorkshire.

‘We are very proud of our almost 15-year partnership with TUI, one of the world’s leading travel companies, which has carried over 7 million passengers through DSA since 2005. We have a shared passion to provide an easy, friendly and relaxed service for our customers, offering flexibility and choice including long-haul destinations to Sandford, Florida and Cancun, Mexico.’