Flights have been on hold in recent months due to the global lockdown measures against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As measures begin to lift, many airlines have announced plans to restart commercial flights.
However, on Tuesday budget airline Jet2 made the decision to push back its initial restart date.
Have other airlines followed suit?
Jet2 announced on June 9 that it would be delaying its restart date until mid-July. Though the budget airline had initially said flights would take to the skies on July 1, given the minimal relaxation measures and ongoing border restrictions, the airline decided to change this date to July 15.
This is the second time the airline has amended its restart date, forecasting in the early days of lockdown for a resumed schedule by June 17.
Yesterday, the airline released a statement saying: “In view of the ongoing travel restrictions that are in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the decision to recommence our flights and holidays programme on July 15.
“Customers who were due to travel before July 15 do not need to contact us. We are continuing to proactively contact customers to discuss their options, one of which is rebooking their holiday to a later date.
“For customers with a booking that is due to depart on or after July 15th, the booking is subject to our normal terms and conditions.”
The airline emphasises: “The health and safety of our customers and colleagues is our absolute priority.”
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easyJet has not made any changes to its predicted restart date since the Jet2 announcement.
The orange-tipped carrier is due to resume services this weekend, on June 15.
It will serve ten UK airports, and then two French routes to and from the UK.
UK airports included are Belfast International, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Inverness, the Isle of Man, Liverpool and Newcastle.
From August, the airline says it will serve 75 percent of its routes.
easyJet explains that they have been working to keep planes ready for an immediate flight restart.
Furthermore, new health and safety regulations have been implemented.
The easyJet chief executive, Johan Lundgren, said: “These are small and carefully planned steps that we are taking to resume operations.
“We will continue to closely monitor the situation across Europe so that when more restrictions are lifted the schedule will continue to build over time to match demand.”
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Ryanair is pushing ahead with plans to restart 40 percent of its flights by July 1.
The Irish-carrier says it will serve almost 1,000 flights, restoring 90 percent of its pre-COVID network across 80 of its European bases.
Like many other airlines, Ryanair will implement enhances safety and hygiene features to protect both staff and passengers.
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 four-month lockdown to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. After four 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.
“Ryanair will work closely with public health authorities to ensure that these flights comply, where possible, with effective measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“As already shown in Asia, temperature checks and face masks/coverings are the most effective way to achieve this on short haul (1 hour) within Europe’s single market.”
Flights: British Airways hopes to make a “meaningful return” to service
Though British Airways has made no changes since Jet2’s announcement, it is not yet certain when they will return to normal service.
The airline has said it is hoping for a “meaningful return to service” in July, but amid border restrictions, the FCO’s current travel advisory, and the UK’s current 14-day quarantine rule, a full schedule may not be possible.
BA has suggested a pre-COVID schedule may not return until 2023.
If your flight is cancelled, you can claim a voucher for future travel or contact the airline to discuss refund options.
Tourism traffic has dropped as a result of coronavirus
Holiday company TUI maintains that flights abroad will commence from July.
According to the company’s website, holidays travelling on or before June 30, 2020, are cancelled.
Similarly, TUI Lakes and Mountains holidays are cancelled up until and including September 30.
The holiday firm’s river cruising and Marella cruises are also cancelled until the end of July – cancellations vary depending on the specific cruise.
A statement from TUI reads: “We understand that these are incredibly uncertain times and we’re continually reviewing and updating our policies in line with government guidelines.”