While “a crisis like no other” (in the words of the International Monetary Fund) rages, it is important to identify and highlight the sectors of the aviation, tourism and travel retail business that are beginning more rapidly to recover.
In this column, we bring you regular updates about how airports, airlines, travel retailers and brands are investing in that recovery, and how various stakeholders are shaping up for the new normal. Please send your contributions to Martin@MoodieDavittReport.com.
Heathrow Airport has said that travellers placed more takeaway food orders via its app last week than in the whole of 2019, as new travel and spending habits emerge amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The company is underlining the opportunity to browse and transact contact-free using the app and Heathrow Boutique service online. Travellers can pre-order takeaway food to pick up and pre-reserve shopping items before getting to the airport.
As reported, Gordon Ramsay Plane Food is the first full service restaurant at the airport to fully open, at T5, with table booking available and a revised seating plan to allow for safe distancing. In addition, the government’s ‘Eat out to Help Out’ offer is available at participating outlets including Caviar House, Gordon Ramsey, Pret and Caffé Nero.
Heathrow Airport said that “a wide range of retail is now open, from World Duty Free and Dixons Travel to the Harry Potter Shop”.
The reopening drive comes as more airlines consolidate their schedules from Heathrow. Routes that are new to the airport include Dubrovnik, Genoa and Verona. There are also 13 weekly flights to Greece via Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Heraklion and an updated schedule to Italy features ten weekly flights to Naples and three weekly flights to Genoa (more below).
Heathrow Chief Commercial Officer Ross Baker 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.”
New British Airways routes operating out of Heathrow:
Alicante (17 Weekly) from 2 July
Bilbao (6 Weekly) from 22 July
Bodrum (1 Weekly) from 1 August
Bordeaux (5 Weekly) from 1 August
Bari (3 Weekly) from 1 August
Cagliari (3 Weekly) from 18 July
Catania (4 Weekly) from 1 August
Dubrovnik (7 Weekly) from 16 July
Dalaman (4 Weekly) from 17 July
Genoa (3 Weekly) from 1 August
Heraklion (5 Weekly) from 17 July
Jersey (21 Weekly) from 3 July
Kos (3 Weekly) from 18 July
Menorca (6 Weekly) from 15 July
Malta (2 Weekly) from 3 August
Naples (10 Weekly) from 20 July
Newquay (5 Weekly) from 24 July
Paphos (4 Weekly) from 1 August
Rhodes (3 Weekly) from 18 July
Thessaloniki (5 Weekly) from 18 July
Sevilla (4 Weekly) from 15 July
Salzburg (2 Weekly) from 1 August
Turin (4 Weekly) from 15 July
Verona (6 Weekly) from 17 July
Qatar Airways continues to expand its network with the launch of a new service to Cebu from 24 July. It takes weekly services to the Philippines to 13. Cebu joins Brisbane and Toronto as new destinations for the national carrier of Qatar. Qatar Airways will also resume its weekly Guangzhou service from 26 July. By the end of July, the airline’s network will expand to over 450 weekly flights to more than 70 destinations.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are delighted to be launching a new direct service to Cebu, offering our passengers another gateway into the Philippines. Being the airline that has never stopped flying since COVID-19 hit, it has been Qatar Airways’ mission to take people home safely during the pandemic, and we have helped more than two million people get home to their loved ones since February.
“The resumption of Guangzhou passenger services is one of the significant steps taken by Qatar Airways to demonstrate our confidence in the gradual recovery of the regional travel market and global connectivity. Since the COVID-19 crisis started, we have challenged ourselves to be at the forefront and combat the effects of this global pandemic, by volunteering our services to deliver worldwide medical supplies coordinated by Chinese Embassies and Consulates.
“With over 40 onward available connections to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, passengers from Cebu and Guangzhou will be able to enjoy the Best Airline in the World and the World’s Best Business Class Seat while also having access to the largest and broadest network in the region via Hamad International Airport, the Best Airport in the Middle East.”
Emirates will extend its network in Europe to 22 cities when it resumes flights to Stockholm on 1 August. The restart of flights means that all Emirates gateways in Scandinavia will have resumed services by next month, with flights to Oslo resuming from 4 August and services to Copenhagen in operation since June.
In other news, Emirates will resume passenger services to The Seychelles from 1 August, coinciding with the country’s re-opening to international tourists. In a further extension of its connections to Indian Ocean destinations, the UAE flag carrier will increase its services to the Maldives from the current five to six flights a week from 4 August to meet increased customer demand.
Other network additions include Guangzhou from 25 July and Addis Ababa from 1 August. The new services will take the airline’s passenger network to 63 destinations from next month.
Melbourne Airport passenger traffic almost doubled in June compared to May although it remains -95.1% down on the month last year. Total traffic in the month reached almost 140,000, which compared favourably to May’s 73,000. Before the pandemic, Victoria’s major tourism gateway was welcoming on average 100,000 passengers a day.
International figures for the month decreased by -98.3% due to worldwide restrictions on air travel and domestic numbers were down by -93.7% compared to June 2019.
With more than 27.2 million people flying over the last financial year (to June), overall traveller volumes were down by -27.2% compared to FY18/19 – or the same levels as ten years ago.
Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Shane O’Hare said the coronavirus health pandemic was the biggest crisis to hit the aviation industry. “Australia has had a difficult 12 months. First it was ravaged by bushfires – starting way back in spring for some states, then the COVID-19 health pandemic.”
He added: “Our business is as well positioned as it can be to face the uncertainty that lies ahead. We anticipated from the outset that the return of travellers will lag the easing of restrictions.
“We’ve taken a very conservative approach to modelling what we think a return to the skies might look like for Melbourne and Victoria. The aborted July restart was disappointing, but not surprising. We will need to learn to adapt to the prospect of further outbreaks.
“Where possible we have continued to work on major projects that will set us up for future success such as the expansion of our International Arrivals Hall to improve the inbound traveller experience, extension of our taxiway network and construction of a new 464-room hotel.
“While we know we will be dealing with a reduced flight schedule for the foreseeable future, we will continue to enable flights 24/7 and hope to see an uplift in domestic flying as the spread of the virus is supressed in Australia.”
All three of Manchester Airport’s terminals are in operation, as more airlines resume services and retail outlets start to re-open. Over the last few weeks more and more flights have started to resume operations. This week sees the airport’s first transatlantic service resume, with Air Transat resuming operations from Sunday.
Flights resuming this week include:
- Air Transat – Toronto
- Las Palmas
In Terminal Two MAG Hospitality is also providing a café style takeaway, offering a range of hot and cold beverages, and light snacks and sandwiches.
- Terminal One – Dixons – airside – 24th July
- Terminal One – Hamleys – airside – 30th July
- Terminal One – Paperchase – airside – 10th August
- Terminal One – WH Smith – landside – 23rd July
- Terminal One – Direct Dry Cleaning – landside – 4th August
- Terminal Two – Burger King – airside – w/c 3rd August
- Terminal Two – Spinning Jenny – airside – w/c 3rd August
- Terminal Two – JD Sports – airside – w/c 3rd August
- Terminal Three – Costa Coffee – airside – 30th July
- Terminal One – JD Sports – airside
- Terminal One – Burger King – airside
- Terminal One – Grain Loft – airside
- Terminal One – Starbucks – airside
- Terminal One – Fat Face – airside
- Terminal One – Pret a Manger – airside and landside
- Terminal One – Biza – duty free
- Terminal One – Playnation – airside
- Terminal One – Timberland – airside
- Terminal One – WH Smith – airside
- Terminal One – Boots – landside
- Terminal One – Greggs – landside
- Terminal One – Spar – landside
- Terminal One – Next – airside
- Terminal One – Boots – airside
- Terminal One – AeroSpa – airside
- Terminal Two – Playnation – airside
- Terminal Two – Greggs – landside
- Terminal Two – WH Smith – airside
- Terminal Three – Boots – airside
- Terminal Three – Pork & Pickle – airside
- Terminal Three – WH Smith – airside
- Terminal Three – Caffe Nero – landside
- Terminal Three – Biza – duty free
- Terminal Three – Lion & Antelope – airside
- Terminal Three – KFC – airside
- Ground Transport Interchange – Caffe Nero
Shanghai Airport Authority (SAA) reports that domestic passenger traffic at Hongqiao Airport reached around 90% of 2019 volumes in early July. It said: “Domestic passenger flights and passenger traffic volume at Hongqiao Airport have both rebounded significantly as the epidemic control of COVID-19 shows a generally positive trend in China.”
SAA added: “The number of passenger flights had reached an average of 630 per day by the end of June [rising to 714 by 10 July -Ed]. With the end of the college entrance examination and the gradual recovery of travel confidence and demands, passengers are expected to maintain a further resumption of growth.”
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport has issued a range of measures to protect travellers and staff from the virus.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines yesterday resumed passenger flights from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Shanghai. It follows the relaxation of travel restrictions by the Chinese government.
Flights to Mainland China were suspended at the beginning of February due to COVID-19. KLM now operates one flight a week to Shanghai, and makes a stop in Korea on both outbound and inbound flights.
KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers said: “The resumption of flights to Shanghai is a cautious but positive sign of recovery and illustrates our good relationship with China and our partners there. KLM is carefully expanding its network to make sure our customers have as much choice of destinations as possible. The fact that we can now offer Shanghai again is an important milestone in the laborious reconstruction of the KLM route network at a difficult time.”
In related news, KLM is to add Riyadh as a new destination in its network from 28 September.
By the end of July, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol will serve between 55,000 and 70,000 passengers and handle about 600 flights each day. That compares well to the busiest day in June, when the Dutch hub welcomed 23,000 passengers and 334 flights. In the same period last year, there were more than 210,000 passengers daily and around 1,450 flights.
Encouragingly, through June the number of daily passengers doubled, notably after flight restrictions within Europe were eased on 15 June.
United Airlines has said it will further expand its schedules in August after doubling flight numbers from June to July. But it noted that bookings continue to lag behind reintroduced capacity: it expects a final July load factor of 45%, with fewer than 15% of flights that have 70% of seats filled.
United yesterday announced second quarter 2020 financial results, with a net loss of US$1.6 billion. Total operating revenues were down -87.1% year-over-year, on an -87.8% decrease in capacity year-on-year.
Virgin Atlantic resumed passenger operations yesterday with a flight from London Heathrow Airport to Hong Kong.
The airline also began services from London Heathrow to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.
It will also be reintroducing 17 routes in August including flights to Tel Aviv, Miami, San Francisco and Barbados.
The carrier temporarily stopped operations for a three-month period due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. It reassured passengers that it has implemented additional safety and hygiene measures to ensure their wellbeing while travelling onboard its fleet.
Virgin Atlantic Chief Commercial Officer Juha Jarvinen commented, “As countries around the world begin to relax travel restrictions, we look forward to welcoming our customers back onboard and flying them safely to many destinations across our network.”
Frankfurt Airport passenger numbers have continued to grow solidly in recent weeks, though they remain sharply down year-on-year.
In the week to 19 July, passenger volumes reached 307,560. This was down by -80.5% on the corresponding week in 2019, but was up on the 275,129 figure of a week earlier (to 12 July). This in turn was an improvement on the figure of 251,033 in the week ending 5 July, showing an encouraging upward trend in the holiday season.
China Eastern Airlines has said that its ‘fly at will’ discount scheme has boosted domestic passenger numbers and load factors over recent weekends.
Under the programme launched in late June, customers can enjoy unlimited weekend flights until 31 December for RMB3,322 (about US$475). To date, around 150,000 travellers have purchased tickets under the scheme, many of them migrant workers and backpackers, said China Eastern.
The average passenger load factor of China Eastern flights from Shanghai to more than ten national destinations rose by nearly +20%, with some flights at 90% full, driven by the ‘fly at will’ scheme.
The airline said: “Although the company has dispatched wide-body aircrafts like B777 and A350 to the hot flights, it still cannot fully meet passengers’ growing travel demands.”
Other airlines in China have launched similar products, among them China Express and Hainan Airlines.
Family-owned US travel retailer International Shoppes has reopened its duty free stores at New York JFK Airport terminals 1, 5 and 8, and at Boston Logan terminals C and E. It is operating limited hours at each to coincide with busier periods.
The company is offering pick-up of selected purchases in its stores rather than at the gate, though the scheme applies to domestic travellers only.
The company said that it has expanded its pre-order programme to allow “store-side pick-up”, with customers able to place orders from one to 72 hours before they fly.
It noted: “You have the option to either pick up in our store located within the terminal you are leaving from or delivered to your gate for all beauty and confectionery products. You must have wines & spirits and tobacco products delivered to your gate. All international purchases must be delivered to your gate.”
Among other measures the retailer has suspended beauty demonstration for the time being and advises customers not to apply tester products to their faces.
Plaza Premium Lounge, the world’s largest independent airport lounge network, has resumed operations globally. It is now serving passengers from over 100 airlines with a heightened focus on hygiene and safety.
Among the lounges re-opened is a facility at Hong Kong International Airport Gate 1, which has been renovated to reconfigure zoning and allow for social distancing. Also newly-introduced is a smart self-ordering system for travellers to choose made-to-order dishes.
Plaza Premium Group CEO and Founder Song Hoi-see said: “As a pioneer and innovator of airport hospitality this is a crucial time for us to work with our airline and airport partners to rebuild trust and assurance in travel by providing a safe environment for travellers at the airport.
“We are committed to continuously enhancing our lounges, which have become an integrated component of a journey especially during and post pandemic as travellers seek a safe and worry-free environment to relax and enjoy prior to boarding. Guests’ and our staff’s health and wellbeing is of utmost importance to us.”
Other key airport locations where Plaza Premium lounges have recommenced trading include Macau, Taipei, Vancouver, Jakarta, Phnom Penh, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Penang, Langkawi, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Abu Dhabi.
As reported, a recent survey by Plaza Premium Group gathered insights from over 200 travel industry partners on the future needs of travellers, with hygiene and safety unsurprisingly emerging as a top priority.
Budget airline EasyJet is resuming operations on more than 100 routes from the UK in August. The airline has also announced that it will be launching several new summer routes from London Gatwick.
It has also released its extended its summer 2021 flight schedule in an effort to encourage early flight bookings.
This is in addition to services already operating throughout July including flights to Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Montenegro, the Balearics, the Canary Islands and other popular holiday destinations.
EasyJet Chief Commercial, Marketing and Planning Officer Robert Carey commented, “We are really pleased to be able to be resuming flights to even more destinations throughout August to get customers away on their much-needed summer holiday this year.
“We’re also putting even more flights on sale today for summer next year. We’re launching Summer 2021 earlier than ever before so that customers can book early to get the best value fares on flights to hundreds of destinations across our network, and customers have more options if they want to rebook their Summer 2020 holidays.”
India’s Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri has said that the country plans to establish ‘travel bubbles’ with selected other states to allow a gradual resumption of international travel.
He said: “In an initiative to further expand our international civil aviation operations, air bubble arrangements with US, UAE, France and Germany are being put in place while similar arrangements are also being worked out with several other countries.
“Under this arrangement airlines from the concerned countries will be able to operate flights from and to India along with Indian carriers. I have no doubt these will be beneficial for our citizens who are stressed and distressed abroad or those who want to fly out.”
The Indian government recently extended the suspension of all international commercial flights until 31 July.
Egyptair is expanding its flight schedules as it resumes travel to 29 destinations, many of them this month or from early August. The national carrier has announced plans to fly to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Istanbul, London, Milan, New York, Paris, Rome and Toronto, among others, as travel restrictions are eased.
Sydney Airport passenger traffic almost doubled from May to June, to 172,000, driven by a return of domestic travel last month. The figure was still -94.9% down on the same month last year.
Domestic traveller numbers reached 140,000 compared to 62,000 in May, while international volumes were 32,000 compared to 29,000.
The airport company said it expects continued “significant reductions in passenger traffic for as long as domestic and international travel restrictions persist”.
London Heathrow Airport and its partners have now reopened over 30 stores across Terminals 2 and 5, saying “We’re excited to see our retailers begin to open their doors again”.
The first full-service restaurant to open in T5 was Gordon Ramsey Plane Food, with distancing between tables and a takeaway menu. Restaurants and cafés offer contactless payment while the airport company is also reminding travellers about purchase options using the Heathrow app and the Heathrow Boutique.
“Takeaway food and drink can be ordered on the app remotely, ready to pick up a short time later, whilst items from a selection of stores can be reserved ahead of arriving at the airport, meaning you can shop your favourite brands from the comfort of your own home,” it said.
Lagardère Travel Retail Italia today reopened Bottega dei Sapori at Venice Marco Polo Airport. The retailer said: “It is an important result for one of our main airport partners, and for us at Lagardère Travel Retail Italia, assisting travellers and promoting offers that enhance our Made in Italy heritage.”
The company reopened other stores in Venice in June. Others in its Italian network have resumed trading at Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino, Cagliari, Treviso, Trieste, Brindisi and Palermo airports.
Groupe ADP is gradually opening its network of airports in France and overseas. As reported, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly are partially open again, serving domestic and international travel.
The following airports are now open for domestic and international flights: Bodrum, Antalya, Izmir, Ankara, Skopje, Enfidha, Monastir and Mactan-Cebu.
These airports are open again for domestic flights only: Delhi, Hyderabad, Médine, Nosy Be, Antananarivo, Gazipasa and Amman.
As of this week, the following airports are either closed or suspended for commercial flights: Ohrid, Batumi, Tbilisi, Jeddah, Conakry and Mauritius.
Groupe ADP traffic fell by -87.9% last month compared to June 2019, with just 2.8 million passengers across the entire network of airports.
East London, George and Kimberley airports can reopen for flights from 21 July, the South African government has announced. Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula announced yesterday that the airports had met the requirements of the SA Civil Aviation Authority and would be able to resume flights. Other major airports in the country opened in June.
Senzeni Ndebele, spokesperson for Airports Company South Africa, said that reconnecting regional centres through air links will help to stimulate local economies.
Ndebele said that suitable health screening resources had been allocated by the provincial governments of Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape.
“These resources are an essential required element of the health protocols and procedures at airports. Other airports that opened earlier already had Port Health resources in place by virtue of their international status.”
The government has announced that airports in Iraq may reopen from 23 July, good news for the aviation and travel retail sectors.
It is part of a range of measures to reopen the country that were agreed on Thursday by the Higher Committee for Health and Public Safety. The Al-Mundhiriyah, Safwan and Al-Shaib border crossings will also reopen, while malls and shopping centres are allowed to trade again. Curfew rules are also being eased in the country.
Birmingham Airport has reopened more of its commercial services as flight numbers increase. On 15 July the UK midlands airport opened JD Wetherspoon, Burger King, M&S Food To Go and SSP Factory Bar.
The move coincided with the return of flights from airline and package holiday group Jet2. Ten services from Jet2 departed on Wednesday from Birmingham Airport, to Heraklion (Crete), Menorca, Majorca, Malaga, Corfu, Skiathos, Fuerteventura, Split, Zante and Tenerife.
By the end of June, 27% of retail and F&B outlets had reopened across the largest airports in Australia and New Zealand, according to a survey by The Mercurius Group.
The analysis covers 778 duty free, food & beverage and speciality retail outlets across 27 airports (those with more than 0.5 million passengers – 19 in Australia and eight in New Zealand).
While most outlets remain closed, notably at international terminals, the figure for those now open is well up on the 18% recorded in May.
Full story and commentary by Ivo Favotto of The Mercurius Group here.
Jazeera Airways today announced a strong schedule of flights for the six-month period starting from 1 August. The Kuwaiti airline will fly to 20 destinations, including the high-demand cities of Dubai, Riyadh, Beirut, Istanbul and Amman.
Jazeera Airways Chief Executive Officer Rohit Ramachandran said: “We are all very pleased to be resuming our flights and serving our customers after a suspension of over four months at Kuwait International Airport. During this period, we continued to operate by supporting repatriation and expatriation flights. Now we can welcome citizens and residents who want to travel out and back into Kuwait. We anticipate demand will be strong in August and our schedule focuses on the most desirable routes – whether people want to fly to visit the family or for medical, touristic and business purposes.’’
The Emirates A380 returned to the skies today as EK001 took off from Dubai International to London Heathrow for the first time since March. Another of today’s DXB departures, flight EK073, will be the first A380 to land at Paris Charles de Gaulle since the pandemic began.
The airline will also deploy the aircraft on its daily Amsterdam service, and add a second daily service to Heathrow from 1 August.
Throughout the day, Emirates will also mark the restart of scheduled passenger services to seven more cities – Athens, Barcelona, Geneva, Glasgow, Larnaca, Munich and Rome.
Over the next two days, the airline will resume flights to Malé (16 July), Washington DC (16 July) and Brussels (17 July).
Emirates currently serves over 50 destinations in its network via Dubai to the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Tallink Grupp has reached a welcome milestone in business recovery from COVID-19: all 14 of its vessels sail on the Baltic Sea today for the first since 14 March.
During the peak of the crisis, only half of the company’s fleet continued limited operations, mainly to transport cargo between the company’s home markets of Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Latvia.
Today, around 20 000 passengers will travel on routes such as Tallinn-Helsinki, Stockholm-Riga (commuter traffic only), Stockholm-Visby, Tallinn-Turku, Turku-Aland, Turku-Stockholm and Helsinki-Riga. Last year, on the same day, Tallink ships carried 41,403 passengers in the Baltic Sea region.
Tallink Grupp CEO Paavo Nõgene said: “The last four months have been a challenge for everyone, but we said we will cruise again in the spring and today we can say that this day has come. True, we are not anywhere near returning to our normal operations yet, but at least all our ships are where they belong again – back on the sea and not suspended in ports.
“Not all our vessels have daily departures, and we foresee that there will be also periods during this autumn season when certain ships are not operating. However, our activities are based on development of the epidemiological situation in various countries and we are adapting accordingly.
“I am pleased that we are able to offer our services and memorable experiences to our loyal customers again after this challenging time and we thank them all for their continued support and belief in us. We are cruising again.”
In a boost to the Norwegian travel and travel retail business, the government is allowing entry for residents of most countries in the Schengen Area and European Union from today, as restrictions ease. It has also removed the need for entry quarantine when travelling or returning from these states, so Norwegians can also travel more freely.
For cruise-ferry company Color Line, which manages a substantial travel retail business, it means that services will resume between Oslo and Kiel in Germany. Its two ships, Color Fantasy and Color Magic, will ply this route again. Fast ferries Super Speed 1 and 2 can also travel from Hirtshals in Norway to Kristiansand and Larvik in Denmark.
Germany is Norway’s most important travel market with peak season in August and September, said Color Line CEO Trond Kleivdal. “The company is the largest single player in Norwegian tourism by sea.”
Routes to Sweden remain suspended due to health concerns, meaning that Color Viking and Color Hybrid (Sandefjord to Strømstad) will not yet resume operations.
Virgin Atlantic will restart flights from 20 July having agreed a £1.2 billion recapitalisation programme with financial partners. The plan will include refinancing over the next 18 months as well as cost savings of £280 million per year and £880 million rephasing and financing of aircraft deliveries over the next five years. The airline said it aims to rebuild its balance sheet and return to profitability from 2022.
In the second half of 2020, capacity is expected to reduce by at least -60% compared to 2019, said Virgin, with pre-crisis levels of flying “unlikely to return until 2023”.
CEO Shai Weiss said: “Few could have predicted the scale of the Covid-19 crisis we have witnessed and undoubtedly, the last six months have been the toughest we have faced in our 36-year history. We have taken painful measures, but we have accomplished what many thought impossible. The solvent recapitalisation of Virgin Atlantic will ensure that we can continue to provide vital connectivity and competition to consumers and businesses in Britain and beyond.”
Groupe ADP has announced the latest reopenings across its Paris network.
At Paris Charles de Gaulle, terminals 2AC, 2E and 2F are now operational, with almost all commercial outlets open again at 2E and 2F. These include duty free, speciality retail and food & beverage.
Paris Orly 4 reopened on Monday, welcoming flights from Air Caraibes, French bee, Royal Air Maroc, Air Algérie, Corsair, TUI Fly and Tunisair.
It follows the reopening of Orly 3 on 26 June, which now houses 1,000sq m of additional commercial space. Highlights of the updated F&B offer there include Daily Pic from celebrated chef Anne-Sophie Pic; Italian restaurant IT; Caffè Nero; bakery Gontran Cherrier and Paul café.
Wizz Air’s new middle east-based regional arm — a joint venture with holding company ADQ — will begin operations with six flight routes from Abu Dhabi International Airport on 1 October.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has been granted national carrier status by the UAE government, subject to meeting various regulatory standards. It will operate flights to Alexandria, Athens, Kitaisi, Odesa and Yerevan, increasing the airport’s annual capacity by 35,000 seats.
Wizz Air Group Chairman Jozsef Varadi commented: “This announcement is the first step of a long and much awaited journey as we are dedicated to developing our presence in Abu Dhabi, contributing to Abu Dhabi’s economic diversity strategy while offering ever more affordable travel opportunities on our low fare network.”
The latest figures from Spanish airports group Aena underline how passenger traffic has recovered over the past two months.
In early May there were just 200-300 flights across the entire network. This increased to 400 at the beginning of June and over 1,000 by the end of the month. By early July, there were close to 2,000 flights per day.
Aena said today: “The airlines began to step up their operations in June and this has become more apparent as of July. This change reflects an improvement in traffic expectations for the peak summer months in keeping with the end of travel restrictions in Spain and the arrival of passengers from abroad.”
In June, Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport had the highest number of passengers in the network at 194,734, though this was a -96.5% decrease compared to the same month in 2019. It was followed by Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat, with 148,903 (-97.1%); Palma de Mallorca, with 127,555 (-96.7%); Gran Canaria, with 106,541 (-89.1%), and Tenerife Norte-Ciudad de la Laguna, with 99,703 (-80.6%).
While most Fraport Group airport volumes fell by between -78.1% and -99.8% year-on-year in June, Xi’an Airport continues to roar back, mirroring recovery in the China domestic market. The airport posted a drop of -31.7% in passenger numbers year-on-year, but still welcomed 2.6 million passengers in the month.
The full story on Fraport Group figures can be found here.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will resume sailings from the end of July, with eight short cruises routes starting and ending in Hamburg. The cruise company will use luxury ship, the Europa 2, and expedition ship, the Hanseatic Inspiration.
Initially these will be open to residents of Germany, Austria and Switzerland only. The company said: “Thanks to the positive developments with regard to containing COVID-19 in these countries and the comparatively short distances to the departure point, it is assumed that the risk of infection from people resident in these countries is similarly low.”
Passenger numbers will be reduced by 40%, with between 150 and 300 guests onboard.
“We have taken extraordinary measures in preparation for this relaunch and are faced with a new travel reality with significantly stricter prevention and hygiene standards. We have taken our time because the safety of our guests and crew and the trust of those in charge of the German ports is very important to us,” said Hapag-Lloyd Cruises CEO Karl J. Pojer.
“For the relaunch, in accordance with the German authorities, we have agreed to exclusively welcome guests who are resident in Germany, Austria and Switzerland onboard at first. In the next phase, we will evaluate whether we are able to allow guests who are resident in other countries to travel with us, depending on the development of the infection rate in those countries.”
*Footnote: The TUI Group last week completed the sale of subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd Cruises to TUI Cruises. Hamburg-based TUI Cruises is a joint venture between TUI and Royal Caribbean Group. TUI had agreed the sale in February for an enterprise value of around €1.2 billion. TUI Cruises serves the premium cruise segment in German-speaking markets with the Mein Schiff fleet.
Passenger traffic at London Heathrow Airport fell by -95.2% year-on-year in June, to 350,000, but this was still an encouraging rise of over 120,000 compared to May. The introduction of travel corridors is expected to boost travel numbers further this month, as the holiday season continues.
Full story here.
International flights resumed today from London City Airport, as the UK government’s ‘Travel Corridors’ policy comes into effect.
BA CityFlyer today began flying to Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Málaga and Florence. These initially daily flights will be joined from 13 July by daily KLM flights to Amsterdam and Luxair flights to Luxembourg.
From 1 August, BA CityFlyer will add flights from London City Airport to Nice, Mahon, Faro and Bergerac.
In a landmark day on the road to recovery at Zürich Airport, all stores and restaurants have now reopened. Head Commercial Centres Heidi Köpple confirmed the news on “a very important day” for the Swiss hub.
She also revealed the latest new food & beverage concept to be added to the mix: sushi take away and ‘local hero’ Yooji’s (pictured below).
Aida Cruises will resume sailings in August, becoming the first line in the Carnival Corporation group to start operations again after the industry-wide pause in mid-March.
Aida Perla will be the first ship to set sail on 5 August from Hamburg, followed by Aida Mar from Rostock-Warnemünde on 12 August and Aida Blu from Kiel on 16 August.
The first cruises will take place with an adjusted passenger capacity and without calling at other ports.
The company said: “Aida guests can look forward to a versatile vacation programme onboard with a plus in service for the guests, with the implementation of necessary hygiene standards and rules for avoiding contact and keeping distance.”
New research from travel data company Cirium shows the strength of the rebound in Chinese domestic aviation. Almost 64 million seats are scheduled within the China market for July, a capacity fall of only -5% compared to the same month last year. In the US, domestic seat capacity this month is over 47.4 million, down by -46% on July 2019.
The top 20 global domestic markets, according to schedules for July, account for more than 1.3 million flights in total, down by -32% compared to 2019.
Full story here.
SSP Thailand has reopened 14 restaurants over the past two weeks across the country’s airport network.
The F&B specialist has opened Camden Foods at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi; Burger King, Camden Foods, Bill Bentley, Dairy Queen, Noodle Express and Yentafo at Bangkok Don Mueang; Dairy Queen at Chiang Mai and Ritazza at Hat Yai airports.
Dubai Airports has welcomed the resumption of scheduled operations by foreign carriers at Dubai International (DXB), alongside the reopening of a range of shopping and dining outlets.
Some 13 international airlines resumed scheduled flights this week as Dubai opened its skies and welcomed tourists from 7 July. The carriers include Air Blue, Air France, Cebu Pacific, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, Gulf Air, KLM, Lufthansa, Mahan Air, Middle East Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Philippine Airlines and Royal Jordanian, with more expected to join later. DXB-based Emirates and flydubai have also boosted their schedules this month.
Shops, cafés and restaurants have begun to open, led by anchor retailer Dubai Duty Free in departures and arrivals. In addition, Travelex, Le Clos and Costa have opened in Terminal 3 arrivals.
F&B options in T3 departures include FIX, The Daily DXB and The Hangar. Shops open include Boots and H&M as well as Dubai Duty Free.
At Terminal 2 services available include Travelex currency exchange, Boots and selected cafés and restaurants, including Starbucks, Subway and McDonalds.
Full story and comment from Dubai Airports here.
Good news from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as this striking Samsung pop-up is reopened after the COVID-19 crisis forced its closure.
Desy Berndsen, Director of Business Development at promotions agency Face The Public, said: “Thanks to all the efforts of Tessa Postuman from Samsung Electronics, Eveline Brouwer from Capi-Lux and Jérôme Legger of Schiphol Media, last Friday our team was able to restart the activation and boy, that felt so good!
“Until the end of August our Face The Public team is excited to show all the innovative Samsung products in the mobile market, the Z Flip & S20 family, to every Schiphol passenger.”
By the end of August, Latvian airline airBaltic plans to have reestablished 69 routes on its network, mostly from its base in Riga. In coming weeks it will bolster existing services by launching direct flights from Riga to Billund (Denmark), Reykjavik (Iceland), Madrid (Spain), Zurich (Switzerland), Turku (Finland), Warsaw (Poland), Prague (Czech Republic), Stuttgart (Germany), Budapest (Hungary) and Liepaja (Latvia).
The airline has also already announced its Summer season schedule for 2021. In all, airBaltic will offer 82 routes, which is +21% compared to this year. It plans to increase frequency on some popular routes, including Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Dublin and others.
As reported, airBaltic, LSG Riga and Hanse Distribution have partnered for an onboard sales drive that has lifted average spend per passenger year-on-year despite much reduced travel numbers.
Delta Air Lines will add almost 1,000 flights system-wide this month, boosting connectivity to popular Summer destinations and key business markets. To ensure crew and passenger safety, the airline said it will cap seating at 60% in its main cabins and 50% in First Class, blocking middle seats through to 30 September.
In the US, the focus of network expansion will be on major hubs like Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City.
Delta will add capacity back into the Latin America region in response to reopened borders and the increased demand for leisure travel. Delta will operate around 20% of its schedule compared to last year, but that is an improvement from June capacity that was reduced by more than -90% year-on-year.
Flight additions are focused on popular vacation spots close to the US, notably Cancun, Los Cabos, Montego Bay, Nassau, St. Thomas and Punta Cana.
Delta also plans to resume previously suspended routes in the Caribbean in high demand for Summer including Aruba, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Puerto Rico.
Delta is also adding some more transatlantic services such as a four-times weekly service from Boston to Amsterdam and daily service from Seattle to Amsterdam. It will also restart its Detroit to Paris Charles De Gaulle service.
Delta continues to operate a much reduced schedule to the Asia Pacific region but will restart weekly service from Los Angeles to Sydney in July. The airline will also add weekly flights from Atlanta to Incheon, complementing existing service from Detroit and Seattle.
AirAsia has sounded an upbeat note about regional travel and advance bookings, as domestic travel returns in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India and the Philippines. This comes despite a warning from auditor Ernst & Young signalling uncertainty about the future of the carrier.
Group CEO Tony Fernandes said: “On 7 July, we registered our highest post-hibernation sale with 75,000 seats sold in a single day, reflecting pent-up demand and signalling green shoots of recovery. We also sold over 200,000 AirAsia Unlimited Passes since its recent launch for domestic Malaysia, domestic Thailand and AirAsia X.
“Positive trends in our flight bookings and load factors are additional signals of a better second half of the year. In June, our group-wide load factor was 60% with AirAsia Malaysia’s load factor reaching 65%. For July, we expect to achieve a higher load factor of 70% despite tripling our capacity month-on-month to cater to the increased demand.”
“Things may be a bit different than usual, but you’re still just as welcome. Welcome back to Schiphol!” That’s the message from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as flight schedules increase and traveller numbers rise steadily in early July. This lovely video just released by the airport company shows what the new world of travel (and shopping) at Schiphol looks like today.
“While global aviation continues to witness unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic, this step is a testament to the strength of the UAE aviation sector and our commitment to its long-term prospects.”
That’s the upbeat view of regional aviation from Air Arabia Group Chief Executive Officer Adel Al Ali, as the low-cost carrier and Etihad Airways push ahead with plans to launch a new joint airline, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, on 14 July.
Full story here.
Flights resume today at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. All traffic had moved to Terminal 1 during the COVID-19 crisis, but this facility has now become congested, said Manila International Airport Authority in a letter to airline and other partners.
Those airlines that transferred temporarily to T1 are now “directed to return and resume flight operations at Terminal 3, effective 8 July”, said the authority. These include Cebu Pacific, Emirates, KLM, Cathay Pacific, Philippine Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
Visitor traffic to the Philippines remains restricted. The government has just lifted the ban on Filipinos travelling abroad as long as destination countries permit their entry.
Changi Airport Group, in partnership with Lotte Duty Free, has ramped up its online retail offer through the iShopChangi platform. The partners have added over 100 wines & spirits brands, at duty paid prices, for non-flying customers.
Full story here.
Dubai is reopening for tourism from 7 July. To celebrate the city’s reopening, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce has launched a moving campaign film titled ‘Ready When You Are,’ to inspire travellers to visit Dubai once again.
The film also assures travellers that the city is taking all necessary precautions to ensure their safety and wellbeing when visiting Dubai.
SSP has reopened six restaurants over the past week at Brisbane, Sydney and Perth airports, will more to follow in the weeks ahead. In the past seven days openings include:
Brisbane: Ze Pickle, Upper Crust and Upper West Side Deli
Sydney: Roll’d (T2 Virgin), National Pies (T3 Qantas)
Perth: Crate Cafe (Qantas)
Hailing the openings, SSP Southeast Asia Managing Director Shane Beyer said: “Whilst these past few months have been some of the toughest we have all witnessed, there is nothing more inspirational than seeing smiles on the teams faces, especially as we navigate the long road back to work.”
Manchester Airport has issued updated information on the reopening of terminals, shops and restaurants as flight activity picks up this month. Terminal 2 will open on 15 July, meaning that all three terminals will be back in operation. Terminal 3 opened on 1 July, serving British Airways, Air France, KLM, Ryanair, Loganair and Eastern Airways flights.
Already open in T1 are Biza Duty Free, Boots (airside and landside), WHSmith, Timberland, Greggs, Spar and Playnation while outlets open in T3 include Boots, WHSmith, Pork & Pickle and Caffe Nero.
Biza Duty Free will open in T3 on 8 July, followed by Lion & Antelope (airside) and Caffe Nero (Ground Transport Interchange) a day later. JD Sports will open in T1 on 15 July.
In Terminal 2, Biza Duty Free will open on 15 July, as will WHSmith and Caffe Nero.
Manchester Airport Chief Operating Officer Brad Miller said: “With the introduction of travel corridors, we envisage passenger numbers to continue to increase, which is why we are opening Terminal Two from 15 July, to maximise the airport space.
“These travel corridors will open up the chance for people to enjoy a well-earned break abroad and directly benefit the hundreds of thousands of people whose jobs depend on air travel for their livelihoods.
“We have made our airport safe for our passengers and staff, and we have already started limited operations to many of these countries. With the quarantine requirement now removed, we look forward to safely welcoming back many more passengers in the coming weeks.”
Flights that resume this week from Manchester Airport include Ryanair to Agadir, Beziers, Copenhagen, Gothemburg, Girona, Katowice, Marseilles, Naples, Marrakesh and Riga, while TUI begins flying to Ibiza and Palma.
Lagardère Travel Retail Italia has reopened its Aelia Duty Free stores at Palermo Airport. The retailer said: “A great team spirit has always characterised Lagardère Travel Retail Italia, and it has grown even stronger in the last few months. The team is facing this moment with a really positive attitude and we are extremely proud of it.”
Marseille Provence Airport has announced its latest store and service reopenings. These include Aelia Duty Free (Schengen Zone), Relay/L’Occitane and Prime Time. In F&B, the Starbucks, Class’ Croute, Brioche Dorée and Ritazza units in T1, Hall B have also resumed trading.
Domestic flights from Lagos and Abuja airports will resume on Wednesday 8 July after a three-month suspension, the Nigerian government has announced. Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri airports will resume operations on 11 July and other domestic airports will reopen on the 15th. A date for the resumption of international services will be announced “in due course” said authorities in a statement released on social media.
American Airlines will commence flight operations from London Heathrow Terminal 5 beginning on 7 July. Terminal 5 is the main terminal for its transatlantic route partner, British Airways.
American Airlines will be operating four daily flights from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, New York John F. Kennedy International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Miami International Airport. The airline said that it is expanding its international network with a renewed focus on strategic aviation hubs such as Heathrow Airport.
“Moving American’s operations to Terminal 5 for the first time will greatly improve the customer travel experience, enabling faster and easier connections by working closely alongside our valued joint business partners,” commented American Airlines Managing Director Europe & Asia Pacific Rhett Workman. “While our surroundings may have changed, the safety of our customers and team members remains of paramount importance and we are working tirelessly with our partners and the airport to ensure we continue to offer a safe travel experience.”
Over 80% of F&B stores and retail outlets have reopened at Singapore Changi Airport as more flight activity resumes. Lifestyle destination Jewel Changi Airport began operations on Friday, with attractions such as Canopy Park and the Changi Experience Studio open again.
To safeguard the health and wellbeing of shoppers and diners, all retail and F&B establishments have put in place new safety measures, including stringent cleaning and disinfecting regimes. Contactless payment, takeaway, self pick-up and delivery are among the services available on goods purchased.
The airport company and its partners have also launched a range of promotions to encourage spending.
The ‘Save 2xGST’ campaign allows Changi Rewards members a discount of 7% (the rate of GST) plus a further 7% off purchases with a minimum spend of S$30 from 3 to 19 July. Shoppers who spend more than S$70 with Mastercard can also redeem S$10 Changi Gift Cards or S$5 e-Vouchers.
Jewel is rolling out its first ‘GST Absorbed Shopping Extravaganza’ promotion and an additional S$10 cashback, with just a minimum spend of S$80. This runs until 26 July. In-store sales discounts at Jewel are running as high as 50% at brands such as OSIM and Love Moschino.
Home delivery and drive-through options are also available for locals. They can order from up to five F&B outlets at Changi Airport at no marked-up prices and a flat delivery fee of S$5. Changi Rewards members can also earn points with every order. Alternatively, guests can pre-order meals from any of the ten Jewel eateries such as JUMBO Seafood, Yun Nans and Kam’s Roast, and arrange self pick-up as they drive through Jewel’s Drop-off Point.
Beirut Duty Free has reopened its stores and revealed a major consumer promotion at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport aimed at enticing travellers to spend. The reopening is accompanied by a strong health & safety campaign in the stores.
Accompanied by this wonderful archive photo, Manchester Airport Aviation Director Julian Carr wrote on Friday*: “Today we have 54 flights departing. That’s by far the most since the crisis started, and it now feels like there is real positive momentum towards recovery.
“Of our 60+ airline partners, 17 are now back operating, with the last few days seeing BA, Ethiopian, Finnair, Turkish and easyJet restart operations. Tomorrow [Saturday 4 July] sees our first Iran Air operation to Tehran and we’ll also be welcoming a one-off China Eastern service to Jinan.
“While it’s some way off where we should have been, the initial loads on these flights have been very encouraging and shows there is certainly demand out there. Also next week we’ve still got some surprises in store with respect to new airline and route announcements etc.
“It’s great to finally be getting up and flying again, and starting the process of rebuilding the Gateway to the North!”
The government has announced that it will be relaxing its requirement for inbound travellers from certain states to quarantine, effective 10 July. Under the new regulations, passengers arriving from these ‘travel corridor’ countries are no longer required to self-isolate for 14 days. This is under the condition that they have not been in a country that is not included in the travel corridor list in the 14 days prior to arrival in the UK.
The Department for Transport has revealed the full list of travel corridor countries listed below.
Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are already exempt as part of the common travel area. Information regarding travel into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be announced at a later date.
Arriving passengers must also complete a passenger locator form prior to arrival to help with the country’s track and trace protocols.
Gebr Heinemann today reopened its business at Copenhagen Airport. Gebr Heinemann Denmark Managing Director Esben Keller said today on LinkedIn: “It has been a tough time for business and colleagues, but we are very pleased to welcome our colleagues back to the family, and we now take the first step of many towards recovery of our business.
“I want to thank all employees for showing great perseverance and are looking very much forward to restart the journey together. Proud of my team who have worked incredible hard preparing our shops for the great reopening today. We are more ready than ever to delight our customers again I am confident that we will come out of this crisis stronger as humans, colleagues and as a winning team.”
Berlin Schönefeld and Tegel airports have announced a much enhanced flight schedule for July, which will feature 36 airlines flying to 100 destinations in 40 countries.
Qatar Airways is resuming flights to Doha three times a week while easyJet is initially offering 39 connections from Berlin and expanding its flight services over the summer. Ryanair has been increasing its flight operations gradually since 21 June. From July, there will be 50 connections to and from Schönefeld and Tegel. Airlines such as Condor, SunExpress and Wizz Air are also increasing capacity.
Lufthansa is again operating several flights a day from Berlin-Tegel to Frankfurt and Munich. Air France, KLM, British Airways and Brussels Airlines have also resumed their respective routes to Paris, Amsterdam, London and Brussels daily or several times a day.
Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg CEO Prof. Dr.-Ing. Engelbert Lütke Daldrup said: “Air traffic from Berlin will increase significantly. Most airlines are back with a wide range of European holiday destinations as well as regular scheduled flights. Holidays, business trips and visits from friends and family are now possible again on a large scale and tourism in the capital region is picking up again. Up to 30,000 passengers will travel daily to and from Schönefeld and Tegel in July.”
Hamburg Airport this week reopened Terminal 2 and highlighted strong demand for overseas travel among its customers in northern Germany. The airport said that the flight schedule in July will be almost double that of June.
American Airlines plans to resume many of its long-haul international routes in Winter 2020 but will also cut under-performing services. The company said that Summer 2021 international long-haul capacity will be down by -25% compared to 2019 as its “right-sizes” its international network.
Services to return in the Winter 2020 season include Charlotte to London and Munich; Dallas Fort Worth to Buenos Aires Ezeiza, Lima and São Paulo; Los Angeles to London Heathrow; New York JFK to Paris CDG, Buenos Aires Ezeiza and São Paulo, Miami to Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Santiago de Chile; Philadelphia to Amsterdam, Dublin and Madrid and Phoenix to London Heathrow.
American plans to rely heavily on connectivity through partner airlines’ hubs in future. By 2021, it said, it will operate a full schedule from major US airports to London Heathrow and travellers can connect through British Airways’ network from there. From Seattle it will use Alaska Airlines’ connectivity, which will include new services to London and Bangalore from next year. American also aims to move its Shanghai service from Los Angeles to Seattle.
American will exit several routes, including three trans-Atlantic routes (Barcelona, Rome and Paris CDG) from both Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport. The company will also exit five routes from Los Angeles International to destinations in Asia and South America, notably Hong Kong, Beijing, Buenos Aires Ezeiza, São Paulo and Shanghai Pudong (which it plans to move to Seattle).
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport will be American’s major trans-Pacific hub while Miami International will continue to be the main hub for flights to the Caribbean and Latin America. Once government restrictions on trans-Atlantic flying subside, Philadelphia will continue to be American’s primary hub for service to Europe.
For #TimeforTravel updates before 3 July click here.