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.

Ryanair expands UK summer 21 schedule, launches 26 new routes

Ryanair has announced the launch of its expanded UK Summer 2021 schedule, which includes over 2,300 weekly flights across 480 routes, including 26 new routes to popular holiday destinations in France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

UK holidaymakers are increasingly looking forward to holiday travel following the Government’s roadmap for the re-opening of air travel and the success of the vaccination programme. UK families can now book a Summer holiday until October 2021, flying to international destinations such as Bologna, Fuerteventura, Zakynthos and Valencia among many others.

Ryanair’s UK Summer 21 offers flights to holiday destinations such as Corfu, Santorini, Menorca, Ibiza, Faro and the Canary Islands. Summer breaks to Europe’s top cities including Barcelona, Lisbon, Naples, Rome and Venice.

As part of the announcement, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from £19.99 for travel until the end of October, but these sale prices must be booked by midnight Sunday, March 28 on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Group CEO, Michael O’Leary, said: ‘The UK Govt has implemented a very successful vaccine rollout programme, and is on track for a re-opening of EU short-haul travel this summer. Ryanair is pleased to offer even more choice and lower fares to our UK customers and their families with over 2,300 weekly flights and 480 routes to choose from, including 26 exciting new holiday connections to Naples, Rhodes, Chania, Alicante and Mallorca among many others.

‘UK families can now book a well-earned summer holiday safe in the knowledge that if their plans change for any reason they can move their travel dates up to two times with a zero-change fee up until the end of October 2021.’

Wizz Air announces new base at Gatwick as part of UK expansion

Hungarian low-fares airline Wizz Air has announced a new base at Gatwick Airport, which will be the third base for Wizz Air UK, the group’s UK-registered and based airline, alongside London Luton and the recently announced Doncaster Sheffield.

The airline will allocate one Airbus A321 aircraft to the South London hub and launch four new routes to leisure destinations in Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta from October 22 2020. With the new base at Gatwick, Wizz Air will offer passengers more travel opportunities, with 450,000 seats per annum on sale on its new routes.

The new routes include London Gatwick – Lanzarote, operating on Monday, Wednesday, Friday starting October 23, 2020 for fares starting from £26.99; London Gatwick – Athens, operating on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday starting October 22, 2020 for fares starting from £26.99; London Gatwick – Malta, operating on Monday, Wednesday, Friday starting October 23, 2020 for fares starting from £21.99; and London Gatwick – Naples, operating on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday starting October 22, 2020 for fares starting from £21.99 2020 for fares starting from £26.99. Tickets are now available on wizzair.com or the WIZZ mobile app, with fares starting from £21.99 one-way, including taxes, administration and other non-optional charges.

This announcement follows the recent expansion at Doncaster Sheffield, its first regional base, where the airline will allocate one Airbus A321 aircraft and launch seven new routes to destinations including Alicante, Malaga, Larnaca, Faro, Lublin, Kosice and Suceava in October 2020.

Owain Jones, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK said: ‘Already the fourth largest airline group operating in the UK, today’s announcement of our new Gatwick base and four new routes reinforces Wizz Air UK’s position as a British airline that is growing, creating new jobs, bringing much-needed connectivity to the UK and so helping the economy get back in the air. Following on from last week’s announcement of a new Wizz Air UK base at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, we stand ready to continue to support the UK’s recovery with further growth at key airports, if slot-blocking by other airlines is stopped allowing WIZZ to deliver on our promise of providing affordable travel for all.’

Stewart Wingate, CEO at Gatwick Airport, said: ‘This is encouraging news for Gatwick, particularly at a time when the industry has been so negatively impacted by COVID-19. Having a new aircraft based at Gatwick underpins the resilience of our business for the long-term and ensures we continue to offer our passengers great choice. This is a welcome indication of the positive conversations we are having with airlines – both existing and new – about securing Gatwick’s future.’

Wizz Air announces major expansion at Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Wizz Air has announced the establishment of a new base at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, which will be the second base for Wizz Air UK alongside London Luton.

The Hungarian low-cost airline said that it will allocate one Airbus A320 aircraft to the Yorkshire airport, and will launch seven new routes to add to its existing Doncaster Sheffield network of 10 routes. With the allocation of this aircraft, Wizz Air now has 11 aircraft permanently based in the UK, and the addition of these new routes from Doncaster Sheffield means Wizz Air has almost 1.8 million seats on sale on its 107 routes from the UK for the remainder of 2020.

With the creation of a new base at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Wizz Air will launch new connections to destinations including the Spanish cities of Alicante and Malaga, Larnaca in Cyprus, Faro in Portugal, Lublin in Poland, Kosice in Slovakia and Suceava in Romania. Tickets are available now on wizzair.com or the WIZZ mobile app, with fares starting from £17.99 one-way price.

Owain Jones, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK said: ‘The creation of our second base in the UK is a major milestone for Wizz Air UK, and testament to both our long term commitment to serving the UK market and the strength of the Wizz Air business model, as we continue to expand our footprint during this challenging time for the industry. We’re delighted to be introducing new low-fare connections to Doncaster Sheffield, to provide customers with opportunities to explore new cultures and cities, or return to their favourite holiday spots. The WIZZ team looks forward to welcoming customers old and new on-board our young and green fleet of Airbus aircraft very soon.’

Robert Hough, Chairman of Doncaster Sheffield Airport said: ‘We are delighted to bring more ultra-low fares to DSA, to these popular destinations loved by our customers and served by an airline who pride themselves on providing affordable travel, with an excellent reputation. With strong performance there is now a real possibility for the base to grow from one aircraft initially to a multi aircraft base further broadening the range of routes available.’

With the creation of a new Wizz Air UK base at Doncaster Sheffield, Wizz Air will increase the annual capacity of Doncaster Sheffield Airport by 150,000 seats. The creation of this new base follows on from Wizz Air’s recent announcements of new bases in Bacau, Dortmund, Lviv, Larnaca, Milan-Malpensa, Tirana, Saint Petersburg and the launch of over 200 new routes across the network since April 2020.

TUI UK announces summer holidays from Bournemouth Airport

TUI UK, one of the UK’s largest holiday companies, has announced its summer 2020 holiday programme starting on August 1, from Bournemouth Airport, with flights to Turkey and Spain.

Between August 1 and 7, the company will offer holidays to five destinations including Lanzarote, Corfu, Antalya, Dalaman and Palma. More destinations will be added to the programme throughout August and September, with a total of seven destinations accessible from Bournemouth by early October. The first flight from Bournemouth Airport will depart on August 1 to Palma, Majorca.

Richard Sofer, Commercial Director, TUI UK & Ireland said: ‘After four months of not taking people on holidays, we are incredibly excited to be back at Bournemouth Airport and taking our customers away. We’re starting small, offering holidays to some of our most popular destinations, so that those who want to travel can do so safely.

‘Our customers can be sure they’ll be taken care of through every part of their holiday with us – from the flight, to the transfers, and the hotel – particularly with our new COVID-19 Cover included with every booking. We realise we’re almost halfway through the summer, so we’re glad we’re finally able to offer a variety of choices so our customers can make the most of what’s left of the warmer months.’

Steve Gill, Managing Director of Bournemouth Airport said: ‘Confidence is growing amongst passengers and airlines, and TUI offers a greater choice of European destinations for passengers looking to get away this summer and enjoy a well-earned break in the sun. We’re delighted to get going again and in particular to welcome TUI back to Bournemouth Airport. We’ve all been working hard to make sure the appropriate safety measures are in place to protect passengers and TUI’s additional COVID Cover offers peace of mind for those booking for summer 2020.’

TUI Blue for Families is offering seven night holidays from Bournemouth Airport to Palma staying at the TUI Blue Alcudia Pins on self-catering basis, from £472 per person when booked online. Price is based on two adults and two children sharing and includes flights departing from Bournemouth Airport on August 15, 2020.

TUI Platinum is offering seven night holidays from Bournemouth Airport to Antalya staying at the Aska Lara Resort & Spa on an all-inclusive basis from £642 per person when booked online. Price is based on two adults and two children sharing and includes flights departing from Bournemouth Airport on August 8, 2020. Holidays can be booked at TUI.co.uk.

TUI UK launches new services for summer 2020 from Bristol Airport

TUI UK, the UK-based travel and holiday company, has earlier this month announced a new destination to Enfidha (Tunisia) and one additional flight to Reus (Spain), offering more choice and flexibility to holidaymakers for summer 2020 from Bristol Airport.

The first TUI flight from Bristol to Enfidha will depart on May 4, 2020 and operates once a week on Monday. For Reus, the first additional flight takes-off on May 26, 2020 departing on Tuesday, with the other flight on Saturday. With the new services, holidaymakers now have over 17,000 additional seats to choose from to over 35 destinations when booking their summer holiday from Bristol Airport.

TUI UK&I’s Director of Aviation Planning, Karen Switzer, said: ‘We are very excited to launch our summer 2020 holiday programme. We are concentrating on providing more availability to our great range of holidays by expanding our regional flying programme.

‘The new route to Enfidha and the additional flight to Reus from Bristol provides holidaymakers with more opportunity including the flexibility of different durations to experience our wide range of hotel concepts and destinations.’

Nigel Scott, Business Development Director at Bristol Airport, said: ‘We are delighted that our summer 2020 holidays are now on sale with a new route to Enfidha and an extra flight to Reus for summer 2020. We recognise TUI’s continued commitment to Bristol with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner being based here throughout summer 2020 providing daily flights to a mix of short and long haul destinations including Orlando, Cancun, Majorca and Turkey.’

In Tunisia, holidaymakers can enjoy, among other things, the sandy beaches and spices bazaars. The 4T+ TUI SENISMAR Scheherazade is an adults-only resorts, while the 5Sun Holiday Village Manar is designed for families, offering kids’ and teens’ clubs, daytime activities and West End standard shows. In Spain, customers can choose from the 4T TUI FAMILY LIFE Avenida Suites and the 4T Estival Centurion Playa. TUI FAMILY LIFE resorts are a family orientated option, while the 4T Estival Centurion Playa is part of the TUI PLATINUM concept aimed at couples.

TUI offers seven-night holidays to Tunisia staying at the 5T TUI SENSIMAR Oceana Resort and Spa on a half board basis from £745 per person when booked online. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from Bristol Airport on July 6, 2020 and transfers. TUI and First Choice have free kids’ places across their holidays – deposits are £50pp for short and mid haul and £125pp for long haul, it said.

Iberia Express resumes Cardiff to Madrid route

Cardiff Airport has announced that Spanish low-cost airline Iberia Express has resumed its direct flights between Cardiff and Madrid.

Starting from June 14 until September 21, the airline will operate twice a week, every Thursday and Sunday. The addition of this route to Iberia Express’ 2018 summer programme for the second year comes after its success last summer both in the UK and Spain, offering passengers more onward connections from Madrid’s Barajas airport.

Trevor Martin, Chief Commercial Officer of Iberia Express said: ‘We are very pleased to be starting our service on the Cardiff-Madrid route today and hope that our customers are as thrilled with its return for a second year. We will continue to offer our fantastic service on board and value for money to one of Europe’s most vibrant capital cities. We look forward to welcoming our customers on board.’

Deb Barber, CEO of Cardiff Airport, added: ‘Iberia Express came to Cardiff as a new airline partner last summer with an exciting new route to a capital city airport which is also a busy hub for connecting passengers. After positive feedback we’re really pleased that the airline has returned for a second year of flying passengers from Wales to the Spanish capital, and onwards to key destinations across South America.’

On Thursdays, the flight will depart from Cardiff at 18.35, arriving at Madrid by 21.50; and on return, leave Madrid by 16:55 and arrive at Cardiff by 18.05. On Sundays, the flight will depart from Cardiff at 10.25, arriving at Madrid by 13.40; and on return, leave Madrid by 08.45 and arrive at Cardiff by 09.50. Tickets for this seasonal route are available at iberiaexpress.com as well as via other Iberia Group sales channels, with prices starting from £42 each way when purchasing a round trip, Cardiff Airport said.

The direct flight to the Madrid hub will create options for travellers from Wales’ national airport to fly onward to South America.

Jet2.com announces more sun routes for winter 2018/19 from Glasgow Airport

The UK-based flight and holiday company Jet2.com has announced the addition of more flights and holidays from Glasgow Airport to sun destinations such as the Canary Islands, Spain and Portugal for winter 18/19, with over 20,000 additional seats on sale.

The company has announced that 11 additional flights to the Canary Islands will go on sale for the next Christmas and New Year period. The extra services are to popular sun destinations such as Tenerife, Lanzarote, Alicante, Majorca and Faro.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘This is great news for holidaymakers looking for some winter sun out of Glasgow Airport, particularly over Christmas and New Year. The strong demand for our award winning flights and great value package holidays means we are totally committed to growing our operation at Glasgow Airport, and this announcement today shows that.’

The additional flights and holidays include two additional services to Tenerife on December 27 and December 31, as well as extra weekly services in March/April; and three additional Wednesday services to Gran Canaria over the Christmas holidays and New Year, on December 19, December 26 and January 2, 2019. Jet2.com will also operate three additional Friday services to Fuerteventura on December 21 and December 28 and January 4, 2019.

In addition, Jet2.com has added a second daily service to Lanzarote on Sundays over the Christmas holidays and New Year period on December 23, December 30 and January 6.

For the first time, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays will add six services to Malaga from Glasgow with the addition of six services on December 21, December 23, 28, and 30 and on January 4 and 6. The company is also offering additional services on Mondays and Fridays from February 8.

Further, Jet2 is offering additional Monday services to Alicante starting February 4, taking the total to five weekly services during winter; additional Sunday services from March to Majorca, taking it three weekly services during this period; two additional weekly services to Barcelona on Thursdays and Sundays in January offering year-round service from Glasgow and two additional services to Faro in late-November.

All tickets are available to book at www.jet2.com or www.jet2holidays.com, the company said.

Primera Air to commence direct services to US, Canada, Spain from Birmingham Airport

Icelandic leisure airline Primera Air has announced plans to launch direct low-cost services from Birmingham Airport to New York, Toronto, Malaga, Barcelona, Palma and Crete, effective from May.

The airline will commence its services on May 14 to Malaga and Palma, with New York launching on the May 18 and Toronto on June 23. Crete will start on July 30 and Barcelona on October 1. Flights will operate to New York four times weekly and to Toronto three times per week. Malaga, Palma and Barcelona will operate daily and Crete each Monday. New York and Toronto fares start from £149.00 (one way, all taxes included). Malaga, Palma and Barcelona start from £35 and Crete from £54. Tickets are available on sale via www.primeraair.co.uk, the airport said in a release.

Anastasija Visnakova, Chief Commercial Officer, for Primera Air, said, ‘We are proud and excited to place Birmingham on our route map for 2018. With two transatlantic and four short-haul destinations we are opening our operations here and looking forward to further development of this Primera Air base.

‘This is an important first step for us and significant development for Birmingham Airport and region. With the technology that our brand new fleet offers expensive transatlantic travel becomes a thing of history’.

Chairman of Birmingham Airport, Tim Clarke, said, ‘Primera has seen the enormous opportunities available in the Midlands thanks to its strong trading and cultural links with the US and Canada, and the leisure travellers’ desire to escape to warmer Mediterranean climes.

‘Primera is able to offer low fares due to its brand new fuel efficient Airbus A321 Neos which means that these services are accessible to all pockets – whether travelling on holiday, visiting loved ones or flying for business.’

The airline, which launched its new base in Birmingham recently, will operate brand new Airbus A321 Neos, configured with 16 premium economy seats and 182 economy seats. The new-generation aircraft allows airlines like Primera to fly on routes usually served by wide-body jets. Passengers can also use Wi-Fi on board and the aircraft has full charging facilities for their devices.

Super Break announces new service to Seville for Welsh holidaymakers

Super Break has announced the launch of a new route from Cardiff Airport to Seville in 2018, offering Welsh holidaymakers a chance to experience the Spanish city of Andalucia, according to a release by Cardiff Airport.

The new chartered service by Super Break will be the first direct flight from Cardiff Airport to Seville, and is Super Break’s second chartered flight service from Cardiff Airport following the launch of a Northern Iceland service that went on sale earlier this year.

Starting from £629 per person, the Seville Super Break will depart on March 26, 2018. The break will include four nights’ accommodation at a four-star hotel with breakfast, one full day excursion to Jerez and Cadiz, complimentary entry to many of Seville’s key attractions, 48-hour hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus ticket, and transfers.

Travellers can also choose to add a guided tour of Moorish Granada, or an evening of authentic flamenco and tapas.

Deb Barber, CEO of Cardiff Airport commented: ‘This exciting and unique package is the second and very welcome announcement made by the Super Break recently. It’s great to see the popular tour operator tailoring packages for our customers offered at convenient times.

The Easter break is an ideal time of year to explore and experience everything this stunning Andalusian region is known around the world for. We look forward to more exciting announcements from Super Break in future.’

Katherine Scott from Super Break added: ‘At Super Break we take pride in providing travel experiences out of the ordinary, and this new break to Andalusia means that customers can go straight to the heart of Spanish culture that is Seville and Andalusia. We’ve also made sure there are plenty of experiences included in the price so that our customers can get the most out of their tailored trip. The traditions, cuisine and culture of this beautiful region really does mean holidaymakers can have it all.’

The £629 per person price is based on five days’ in Seville, including accommodation at the four-star AC Hotel Sevilla Forum Hotel with breakfast, a full-day excursion to Jerez and Cadiz, a city sightseeing tour of Seville, plus return flights from Cardiff Airport, the airport said. Tickets are available to book at http://www.superbreak.com/, it added.