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#TimeForTravel: Hyderabad International Airport re-opens flight connections with UK – The Moodie Davitt Report


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.

India

GMR Hyderabad International Airport re-connected with the UK today, when a British Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner took off from the Indian travel hub at 7.50am, bound for London Heathrow.

The flight represents a landmark moment in the Indian government’s drive to establish “air transport bubbles”, as it seeks to restart international air connectivity.

Passengers check in at GMR Hyderabad International Airport this morning for the 7.50am British Airways flight to London Heathrow

All passengers on the flight were serviced through the fully-sanitised Interim International Departures Terminal of the airport, which has been kept ready for flight operations.

Mandatory screening and safety measures were in place during the flight’s handling to protect against COVID-19, including thermal screening prior to terminal entry. Mandatory social distancing was also enforced through special queuing arrangements at all passenger processing points.

British Airways will initially be operating from GHIAL four times weekly – every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

A GHIAL spokesperson said: “We are happy to restart one of our important destinations under the international air transport bubbles arrangement. UK has always been a key destination for us. We are thankful to the governments of the United Kingdom and India for making this possible. The resumption of this connection between Hyderabad and London would help restore vital economic and social links between Telangana and UK, enabling much needed movement of people and goods.”

Singapore

The Singapore government is considering introducing a reciprocal system of ‘green lanes’ to open up travel to and from states where the COVID-19 situation is similar to or better than Singapore’s.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said: “Passenger volumes cannot be turned on and off capriciously. We need to take sensible measures concurrently, proportionate to the risk profile of each country, and make progressive steps as we become more confident.

Socially distanced seating at Changi Airport: 2020 passenger traffic levels are close to those of 40 years ago

“For example, we can consider unilaterally opening up to passengers from certain countries or regions which have kept the virus under control. We can proliferate Reciprocal Green Lanes for business travel, and also expand them for general travel. Serving 14-days isolation is a major deterrent to travellers, and we may have to consider replacing this with a rigorous testing regime.”

He said that air travel recently had been almost entirely incapacitated. “Strict border measures, and health concerns have deflated international air travel to almost zero. We used to record over 1,000 aircraft movements a day, now it is about 150. We were the seventh busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic, but have dropped to 50th. Worse, we have no domestic air travel to fall back on.

“We have started to serve transfer and transit passengers, but even at its peak, they accounted for at most a third of total Changi passenger traffic. Today we are serving only a trickle of that, at 400 passenger movements a day, or 150,000 a year, compared to our pre-COVID 19 volume of close to 20 million a year. As colleagues from Changi Airport told me, COVID-19 set us back by at least 40 years, to 1981 when Terminal One first opened.”

He concluded: “COVID-19 has decimated air travel and incapacitated one of our lungs, but the Singapore heart – our determination, dynamism and enterprise – is still pumping strong. Changi Airport will one day be full again, SIA planes will once again soar. This is our collective mission in the coming months and years ahead.”

Qatar/UK

Qatar Airways continues to enhance its connectivity to UK airports and will resume London Gatwick flights from 20 August. It means the airline’s operations will expand to 45 weekly flights to four gateways in the UK:

  • Edinburgh (three weekly flights)
  • London Gatwick (daily flights)
  • London Heathrow (three daily flights)
  • Manchester (two daily flights)

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are very pleased to resume flights to London Gatwick, further cementing our position as the leading international carrier providing connectivity to the UK. UK passengers can connect seamlessly and safely via the Best Airport in the Middle East to more than 40 destinations across Africa, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South Asia.

“The UK is a very important strategic market for Qatar Airways, and we are proud of our repatriation efforts to-date including never stopping services between the UK and Doha that have helped bring over 200,000 passengers home. The resumption of London Gatwick services is a significant indicator of the resilience of the UK travel market, and we look forward to resuming more of our UK destinations to support the recovery of tourism and trade in the region.”

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “We are delighted to welcome Qatar Airways back to Gatwick after what has been a challenging time for the whole industry. To be able to offer Gatwick passengers the opportunity to fly to Doha– a fantastic city in its own right and a gateway to destinations across Africa, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand – is another positive step in the recovery process.

“Alongside our airlines, Gatwick has implemented a number of extra measures to keep both passengers and staff as safe as possible travelling through Gatwick, which is helping to rebuild public confidence in air travel.”

Germany/International

Fraport Group airports worldwide reported some positive signals for passenger traffic in July, although overall volumes remain well down on 2019.

The group’s biggest airport, Frankfurt, served 1,318,502 passengers in July, representing a fall of -80.9% year-on-year. But this was still more than double the figure of 599,314 in June, boosted by the lifting of government travel restrictions for countries within the EU at the start of the holiday season. Long-haul traffic, on which duty free sales rely heavily, was weak during the month, said Fraport.

Although long-haul traffic at Frankfurt Airport remains weak, there are some positive signals, with passenger volumes doubling during July, driven by EU travel

All of the group’s airports were operating passenger flights again by July, although some were still subject to travel restrictions.

In China, Xi’an Airport continued its recovery, serving 3.2 million passengers in July, down by -25.4% year-on-year. The figures offer an encouraging reminder that Chinese domestic traffic continues to rebuild.

At St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airport, traffic also rebounded relative to previous months. The airport served 1.1 million travellers, though the total was down by -49.1% year-on-year. Russian overseas travel is now permitted to selected destinations including the UK and Turkey, with domestic traffic also growing sharply.

The impact of the pandemic continues to be felt elsewhere in the Fraport network. At  Ljubljana Airport, traffic plummeted by -89.9% to 20,992 passengers year-on-year.

In Brazil, the airports of Fortaleza and Porto Alegre reported a combined -84.2% drop to 221,659 passengers. Lima Airport, which continued to be closed to international flights, received only 69,319 passengers – representing a -96.7% fall year-on-year.

Fraport’s 14 Greek regional airports served a total of 1.3 million passengers in July, down -75.1%. The Bulgarian Twin Star airports of Burgas and Varna registered a combined decrease of -81.9% to 226,011 passengers. Traffic at Antalya Airport in Turkey shrank by -89% to 595,994 passengers.

Hong Kong

In a positive step forward for traffic at Hong Kong International Airport, transfer/transit services will resume for passengers from airports in Mainland China with effect from 15 August until 15 October. However, transfer/transit services to destinations in Mainland China will remain unavailable at HKIA.

Full story here.

Malaysia/Turkey

Malaysia Airports’ network of airports at home and overseas passed the 2 million mark for passenger traffic in July, reaching this figure for the first time since restrictions were imposed on travel in March. Growth was led by the Malaysian domestic market and by Turkish domestic traffic at Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen International Airport (SGIA). Average daily passenger volumes more than doubled compared to June.

Domestic travel accounted for 2.2 million of the 2.5 million total in the month, with a sharp upturn in the week leading up to Eid Al-Adha on 31 July.

International passenger movements showed “slight improvement” compared to previous months but remained as most international borders have restrictions in place.

The daily domestic traffic trend at airports in Malaysia (above) and at Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen (below)

The figures for the network overall were still down by -79.9% on July 2019. Airports in Malaysia reported 1.3 million passengers in July, a decline of -85.8% compared to a year ago. The biggest airport, Kuala Lumpur International, posted a -91.8% decline year-on-year. SGIA passenger volumes contracted by -63.9% compared to July 2019, reaching 1.2 million.

Malaysia Airports commented: “July passenger movements provide some optimism in air travel amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Passenger volume surpassed the 2 million mark in just a month after the easing of control and border movements. The domestic sector continued to steer the recovery with some restrained growth in the international sector.

“In Malaysia, the announcement of the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) to facilitate cross-border travel for essential travel, official purposes, business and work purposes between Malaysia and Singapore from mid-August [should] see some slight increase in international traffic.” More airlines are expected to resume flights to and from Singapore from 17 August.

For Turkey, the UK government’s announcement of ‘travel corridors’ with more than 50 countries including Turkey, saw Pegasus and Anadolujet restart flight operations to London Stansted (daily) and Manchester (three times weekly) in July. Foreign airlines to resume services included Qatar Airways (from Doha), Air Arabia (Casablanca and Tangiers), Pobeda (Moscow) and Jazeera Airways (Kuwait).

Italy

Following approval by the Italian government that cruising can resume, Carnival Corporation division Costa Cruises will launch its first sailing on 6 September.

The first ship to set sail will be Costa Deliziosa, offering weekly cruises from Trieste to destinations in Greece. She will be followed by Costa Diadema, on 19 September 19, operating on 7-day cruises in the Western Mediterranean from Genoa to other destinations in Italy as well as Malta.

Costa Cruises said: “The return to cruising will be progressive, involving an increasing number of ships.”

US

Miami International Airport has welcomed back three more airlines that serve international routes.

On 2 August Volaris began flying to Guadalajara with two weekly flights. Air Europa resumed weekly service from Madrid on 3 August and Swiss returned on 4 August with two weekly flights from Zurich.

These follow 13 other airlines that either never stopped flying or have resumed scheduled service at Miami since the pandemic: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, LATAM Airlines, United Airlines, Aeromexico, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Eastern Airlines, Iberia, Lufthansa, TAP Air Portugal and Turkish Airlines.

Additional airline and route relaunches are expected in the coming months as international travel restrictions are lifted. Miami Airport served an average of over 28,000 daily passengers in July, up from less than 6,000 in April.

UAE/Pakistan

Emirates has increased its passenger services to and from Pakistan starting yesterday, 10 August. The Dubai-based airline is ramping up flight frequency to Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Sialkot, and resuming passenger services to Peshawar. Emirates now offers customers 53 weekly flights to Pakistan, which will increase to 60 weekly flights starting 16 August.

Emirates now serves over 70 destinations worldwide from Dubai as it expands its network.

UK

London Heathrow Airport served over 860,000 passengers in July, down by -88% on July 2019 but a sharp rise compared to June (350,000). The airport company said the UK government’s introduction of the first ‘travel corridors’ on 4 July had a positive impact in the month, though it noted that quarantine rules continue to hold back traffic growth.

Full story here.

China (Macau)

Travel retailers and gaming operators in Macau received a lift today with news that the Individual Visit Scheme will resume for residents of Zhuhai from 12 August. More liberalisation is expected to follow. Full story here.

Indonesia

Indonesian airports company PT Angkasa Pura II said that passenger traffic leapt by +143% in July compared to June, as its 19 airports (led by Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International) served 1.52 million travellers. Aircraft movements reached 21,431, up +65% from the previous month.

At Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the largest in Indonesia, the number of passengers during July was 897,559, up +125% compared to June.

PT Angkasa Pura II Director of Operations and Services Muhamad Wasid said: “Recovery of aviation traffic this year amid a pandemic has been taking place since mid-June.

“In August, we estimate the number of passengers, flight movements and utilisation of flight slot time will increase. As an illustration, on Monday, 3 August, the number of passengers in Soekarno-Hatta reached 37,000 passengers with 400 flights, which is quite high for the beginning of the week.”

Qatar

Qatar Airways is increasing its services to Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar from today. The airline now operates 49 weekly flights to four gateways in Pakistan.

Flights to Islamabad have increased from 11 to 14 weekly, to Karachi from ten to 14 weekly, to Lahore from 11 to 14 weekly and to Peshawar from five to seven weekly. The schedule is now in line with operation levels before the COVID-19 crisis started.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are excited to increase our services to Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar, offering our passengers travelling to and from Pakistan connectivity to the largest networks in Europe, UK and the US via the Best Airport in the Middle East.

“We remain committed to serving our customers in Pakistan and have worked hard throughout the pandemic to ensure we can operate as many flights as possible, in line with the directions of the Pakistan government. From operating special charter services to a number of commercial flights, we are delighted to now offer a strong schedule of services.”

Qatar Airways now offers over 500 weekly flights to over 80 destinations worldwide.

USA

Airlines continued to return to Miami International Airport in July as travel numbers increased to 30,000 per day on average compared to the lowest point of 3,500 in mid-March.

British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Eastern Airlines, Lufthansa and TAP Air Portugal all restarted scheduled international flights at Miami during the month. They joined Aeromexico, Iberia and Turkish Airlines, which resumed in June. Five airlines never ceased operations during the COVID-19 pandemic: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, LATAM Airlines and United Airlines.

The growth trend is expected to continue through August and September, as more international airlines resume Miami Airport services.

Qatar/Australia

Qatar Airways will enhance its Australian services by resuming flights to Adelaide from 16 August. The airline said the move makes it the only international carrier currently servicing five major cities in Australia, led by essential travel and cargo flights.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are excited to resume services to Adelaide, highlighting our ongoing commitment to the Australian market during this difficult period. With the largest global network in the region and the Best Airport in the Middle East offering seamless and efficient connectivity to destinations across the world, we have been the airline of choice for many Australian Embassies to help bring Australians home. Australian Government data (BITRE) showed during the peak of repatriation efforts, our airline helped take home almost ten times more passengers in and out Australia than our nearest competitors.

Qatar Airways lays the groundwork for a wider opening of international air travel from Australia, which is currently restricted to essential travel and cargo

“We are proud to have been one of the few airlines to never stop services to Australia, even expanding our Australian operations during the crisis, to help repatriate over 170,000 Australians and international travellers with their loved ones and transporting hundreds of tonnes of cargo to maintain vital supply chains for Australian agriculture exporters. The resumption of Adelaide services and the recent launch of new flights to Brisbane demonstrate our long-term commitment to Australia and our guarantee to support Australian passengers and exporters with global connectivity during both good and bad times.”

Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Senator for South Australia, The Hon Simon Birmingham, said: “While international travel restrictions remain an important line of protection for Australia against COVID-19, the resumption of services will provide another avenue for repatriating Australians and eventually provide a path for international tourists into South Australia when our borders re-open.”

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall MP said: “This is a great vote of confidence in South Australia, and a very positive first step in reinstating services for when our international borders open. Qatar Airways has been a growing brand flying into Adelaide for a number of years helping to service important markets to and from Europe, so it is terrific to see flights back in the air and see some early optimistic news from the sector.”

Adelaide becomes the fifth city to be served by Qatar Airways, as it ramps up services around the world

Adelaide Airport Managing Director Mark Young, said: “We’re excited to welcome back Qatar Airways and we welcome their reaffirmed commitment to the Adelaide market. This will be the first regular international passenger service to the Middle East since March, and will open up important connections through to Europe and beyond for both essential travellers and South Australian freight exporters.”

With the resumption of flights to Adelaide, Qatar Airways will operate 23 passenger flights per week to Australia:

  • Two weekly flights to Adelaide
  • Three weekly flights to Brisbane
  • Four weekly flights to Perth
  • Daily flights to Melbourne
  • Daily flights to Sydney

Qatar Airways has rebuilt its network with more than 500 weekly flights to over 75 destinations currently.

Qatar/USA

Qatar Airways is set to enhance its US network by resuming flights to Houston and Philadelphia in September. The airline will also expand its frequencies to daily to Los Angeles from 12 August and double daily to New York JFK from 1 September.

By mid-September, the airline will offer 56 weekly flights in its US network, with partnerships allowing onward travel with American Airline to over 200 destinations, and with JetBlue to over 55 destinations.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways has remained committed to bringing people home safely since the onset of the pandemic, and our commitment to the US, a very important strategic market, has never wavered. We are proud of our repatriation efforts to date, and we look forward to providing travellers access to even more flights to the US with the resumption of flights to Houston and Philadelphia, two major cities.

“The addition of these flights brings us to eight US destinations and maintains our position as the largest international carrier in the US, and we look forward to soon returning to all ten of our incredible US gateways.”

Abu Dhabi

Etihad Airways aims to increase its network to 61 destinations worldwide in August and September, operating around 50% of its pre-COVID-19 capacity.

Subject to the easing of travel restrictions, Etihad’s Summer schedule will feature a wider network and increased frequencies to the following destinations from, to, or via Abu Dhabi:

*Middle East & Africa: Amman, Bahrain, Beirut, Cairo, Casablanca, Dammam, Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat, Rabat, Riyadh, Seychelles.

*Europe: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Belgrade, Brussels, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbul, London Heathrow, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Rome, Zürich.

*Asia: Ahmedabad, Baku, Bangkok, Bengaluru, Chennai, Colombo, Delhi, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Jakarta, Karachi, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Kuala Lumpur, Lahore, Male, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Thiruvananthapuram, Tokyo.

*Australasia: Melbourne, Sydney

*North America: Chicago, New York JFK, Toronto, Washington D.C.

Russia

Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport Terminal D reopened on 1 August, with duty free (through Heinemann JV Imperial Duty Free), food & beverage and other services resuming trading.

The opening was made possible by the gradual ending of restrictions on domestic and international passenger traffic and the gradual increase in the number of flights arriving at and departing from the airport, said the airport company.

Terminal D was closed to passengers from 1 April. As reported, international flights have begun to London and Istanbul, with Antalya to follow on 10 August.

Qatar

Qatar Airways has announced the resumption of flights to Kenya and Rwanda as it extends its African route network. The Doha-based carrier – whose services during the COVID-19 crisis never dropped below 30 destinations – will make 14 weekly flights to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and three to Kigali International Airport.

With these additions, the airline now operates 33 weekly flights to eight destinations in Africa including Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and Tunis.

The Qatar Airways network now extends to 75 destinations and 500 weekly flights

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are delighted to resume flights to Nairobi and Kigali. Qatar Airways continues to maintain an expanding schedule with now more than 500 weekly flights to over 75 destinations.

“During the pandemic, Qatar Airways have become the largest global carrier to maintain its schedule in taking people home with the highest safety measures. Our wide network of flights during these challenging times has ensured we have kept up to date with the latest in international airport procedures. We also implemented the most advanced safety & hygiene measures on board our aircraft and in our home and hub at Hamad International Airport which was recently voted the Best Airport in the Middle East for the sixth year in a row.

“Qatar Airways has been the most reliable airline during the pandemic and will continue to ensure its promised five-star service and hospitality is delivered across its network. We hope to see many people come visit Kenya and Rwanda and explore the world’s stunning wildlife and more.”

UK

More shops and restaurants have opened at Birmingham Airport this week as flight operations increase. On Tuesday, WHSmith reopened stores in arrivals and departures (its Departures North shop had already opened), while on Wednesday, Dixons Travel reopened its main airside store.

These join other stores recently opened in the airside zone that include World Duty Free, SuperDry, JD Sports, Kurt Geiger, Boots and Next. Other units now trading also include M&S Food To Go, Burger King, Pret, Factory Bar & Kitchen, Aerospa and Aspire.

Russia

In encouraging news for destinations that rely on Russian visitor spend, Aeroflot has resumed international flights after Russia permitted air travel to and from selected overseas countries.

On 1 August the airline began flying from Moscow Sheremetyevo to and from London Heathrow, with regular Istanbul flights from the same day. Although services are limited, they will be increased in coming weeks.

Aeroflot will also begin flights to Antalya from Monday 10 August, going from three times daily to six times daily from 15 August. Russian are vital contributors to duty free spending at Antalya International Airport.

UK

The WHSmith Travel division continues to reopen stores across the UK and overseas. In the UK, WHSmith is trading at 246 of its largest stores across air and rail, which have historically represented around 75% of annual revenue. It noted: “We now have 53% of our UK Travel store estate open and we remain focused on increasing average transaction value in these locations.”

On operations elsewhere, it added: “In the US, where approximately 85% of passengers are domestic, we anticipate a faster recovery versus the rest of the world. Overall revenue is down -80%, although we have seen an encouraging performance from the 147 stores that we have reopened to date with sales in these stores down -50%.

“Outside the UK and the US, we are seeing broadly similar trends to UK air with passenger numbers significantly down year on year and an increase in average transaction value. We now have 153 stores open across the rest of the world.”

For the full story and a WHSmith trading update from today, click here.

Germany

Passenger numbers at Berlin Tegel and Schönefeld airports reached a combined 693,000 in July, which was four times the figure in June. While the month-on-month increase was encouraging, traffic was still -79% down year-on-year.

On Sunday 2 August the two airports hit a new daily high since the restart of 31,000 passengers.

In recent weeks, returning travellers have been able to avail of coronavirus testing at the airports. So far, several hundred people per day have voluntarily taken advantage of this. Now, preparations are underway at both airports to test travellers coming from high-risk countries, as announced by the government.

UK

In encouraging news for travel in Europe, UK-based low-cost carrier easyJet said it expects to fly around 40% of its planned capacity in Q4 (July to September), peaking in August, compared to the 30% it had originally forecast. It said the increase reflected greater demand on key routes to holiday and weekend getaway destinations.

EasyJet says traveller demand has encouraged it to increase planned flight capacity through to September

CEO Johan Lundgren said in a Q3 trading update: “I am really encouraged that we have seen higher than expected levels of demand with load factor of 84% in July with destinations like Faro and Nice remaining popular with customers.”

The airline also urged the UK government to “use the temporary removal of Air Passenger Duty to support the recovery of UK aviation.” It added: “The pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on the aviation sector. It is one of the worst hit industries, and government action is needed across Europe to retain connectivity and a viable airline infrastructure. Without this we risk long term damage to the recovery. This would significantly quicken the reintroduction and growth of the number of flights and routes available in the UK, particularly outside London.”

Honduras

The government of Honduras said yesterday that it will reopen its airports in coming days, according to Reuters. Domestic flights will resume on 10 August and international flights on 17 August, said Minister of Economic Development Maria Antonia Rivera.

US

Travel and omnichannel retailer 3Sixty Duty Free & More has embarked on a reopening drive of airport stores, with a focus on engaging travellers through pop-ups, promotions and digitalisation. Airport stores open across the US market include those at Dallas Fort Worth, Charlotte, Orlando, Newark and Philadelphia. Full story here.

US

Delta Airlines has fine-tuned its August schedule following COVID-19 surges in certain parts of the world. The airline is currently operating more than 3,000 daily flights serving 239 destinations, with 206 flights in the US and 33 international flights.

One highlight is its newly reintroduced daily route between London Heathrow and New York John F. Kennedy International Airport.

In addition, Delta is reintroducing flights from its Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City hubs. It is also steadily building up operations in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle; with plans to resume services to destinations across the Atlantic, Latin America and the Caribbean. This includes flights to São Paulo, Dublin, Milan and Munich.

UK

British Airways is resuming flying to more destinations in August, although with continued low frequencies while the impact of COVID-19 persists.

In Europe flights will resume to Bari, Bastia, Bodrum, Bordeaux, Catania, Figari, Frankfurt, Genoa, Kefalonia, Lyon, Luxembourg, Malta, Paphos and Pula, while Antigua, Islamabad and Nairobi join the long-haul list of destinations.

UAE

Over the past week, Emirates has resumed flights from Dubai to Addis Ababa, Clark, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Prague, São Paulo, Stockholm and Seychelles. The airline is gradually expanding its passenger services to 68 cities in August, returning to 50% of its pre-pandemic destination network.

Emirates is gradually reintroducing its A380 into service, with services to Amsterdam and Cairo from this week, and to Guangzhou from 8 August. It has also introduced a second daily A380 service to London Heathrow.

Estonia

Tallink Grupp passenger traffic more than doubled in July compared to June as travel restrictions continue to ease in the Baltic Sea region. The figure of 617,206 was -50.2% down on July 2019 but sharply up on the 280,000 in June this year.

Normal route operations in July continued only on Tallinn-Helsinki, Muuga-Vuosaari, Paldiski-Kapellskär and Turku-Stockholm routes. Tallinn-Stockholm and Helsinki-Stockholm routes remain suspended and the Riga-Stockholm route operated four limited-capacity special trips during the month.

The company operated some new temporary routes and several additional special cruises during the month, which helped recover passenger numbers (and boost onboard spending) to some extent.

Tallink Grupp CEO Paavo Nõgene said: “This time last year we reported a record monthly passenger number for the month of July, this year I am pleased that we can report a two-fold increase in the number of passengers compared to the previous month and at least similar passenger numbers to the two first months of the year, before we were hit by the pandemic and our operations were almost completely stopped.

“Our goal for the months and quarters ahead is to remain focused, adapt quickly to market and demand changes and continue to offer the safest, most reliable and best quality maritime transport – both for people and goods – between our countries.”

Italy

Gebr Heinemann has opened its new store at Bari Karol Wojtyla Airport. It won the tender to operate the retail space on 7 February but the development was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It began renovation work on its 400sq m of space in May.

“Heinemann can resort to 140 years of experience in the travel retail market and we will fully dedicate this know-how with great enthusiasm and professionalism to Bari Airport and its passengers in these particularly challenging times,” said Heinemann Italia Managing Director Fulvio Fassone.

USA

United Airlines plans to resume service on nearly 30 international routes in September, including flights to Asia, India, Australia, Israel and Latin America. The airline intends to fly 37% of its overall schedule in September compared to the same period last year and is a +4% increase in capacity compared to what is planned for August 2020.

“We continue to be realistic in our approach to building back our international and domestic schedules by closely monitoring customer demand and flying where people want to go,” said United Vice President of International Network and Alliances Patrick Quayle.

Within the US, United intends to fly 40% of its schedule in September. The airline will add more than 40 daily flights on 48 routes to locations including Austin, Texas; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Santa Barbara, California. Additionally, United plans to resume service between the US Mainland and Hilo and Kauai and increase flying to Honolulu, Kona and Maui in the Hawaiian Islands.

Internationally, the airline expects to resume service next month on 20 routes in Latin America and the Caribbean, including to popular vacation destinations like Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico and to San Jose and Liberia in Costa Rica. It will also begin new non-stop service between Chicago and Tel Aviv and resume eight routes in the Atlantic and Pacific, including the return of European service from Houston with flights to Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

International

Dufry Group has plans to reopen around 50% of its stores by the end of August, representing 70% of sales capacity. The company outlined its updated plan for reopenings as it revealed first-half performance today.

By the end of July around 40% of stores were open, including those in UK, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, US, Turkey, Russia, Hong Kong, India, Cambodia, South Korea and Kuwait.

Based on an online survey of Dufry customers in June, the retailer said that 58% had a flight booked for 2020 and encouragingly, most intend to engage with the duty free shop and interact with staff.

Full story here.

Russia

Moscow Domodedovo Airport served 717,000 travellers in June, three times more than in May, and almost all on domestic routes. Key destinations included Simferopol, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Novosibirsk and Mineralnye Vody.

In June, flights resumed from Domodedovo to Kirovsk, Bugulma, Tyumen, Lipetsk and Cherepovets, with the domestic network now spanning 60 destinations.

Russia

Turkish Airlines will be the first foreign carrier to resume flights between St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airport and the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Antalya, starting from this weekend.

Five weekly services to Istanbul will begin on 2 August. Turkish Airlines flights from St. Petersburg to Antalya will launch on 10 August.

Russian visitors are a vital source of tourism income in Turkey and contribute strongly to travel retail sales in Antalya in particular.

Earlier this month low-cost carrier Wizzair announced plans to begin new services from Pulkovo to the Italian cities of Bergamo, Venice, Bologna, Turin, and Catania, from December.

That followed the news that Wizzair would establish a new base at Pulkovo from September, its first in Russia. Among the first destinations served (from 18 September) will be Salzburg (Austria), Oslo (Norway), Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm Skavsta (Sweden) and Malta.

Baltic Region

Tallink Grupp will extend its cruise schedule to Helsinki and the Åland islands during August and September. It will make two additional weekend cruises with its vessel Romantika, from Riga–Helsinki–Riga (21 August) and Riga–Mariehamn–Riga (4 September).

The move comes on top of a robust schedule already announced and in response to popular demand, said Tallink. Importantly the sailings offer the potential for duty free sales, with the Åland Islands deemed a third territory for indirect taxation, although it is a region of Finland.

International

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has said that 40% of all destinations worldwide have now eased the restrictions they placed on international tourism in response to COVID-19.

The agency’s latest outlook, recorded on 19 July, is up from 22% of destinations that had eased restrictions on travel by 15 June and the 3% previously observed by 15 May. It confirms the trend of a “slow but continuous adaptation and responsible restart of international tourism,” said the UNWTO.

Full story here.

China

Scheduled airline seat capacity in the Chinese domestic market is now just -10.3% down on the week of 20 January, according to the latest data from released this week by aviation analyst OAG. Seat capacity in China in the week beginning 27 July is 15.15 million, well ahead of the US at 11.5 million, as China continues to lead the world in passenger capacity by market.

The UK reentered the top ten global markets this week but is likely to drop out again due to the UK government’s decision to impose a quarantine on travellers returning from Spain, said OAG.

Of the global picture, OAG Senior Analyst John Grant said: “At 57.5 million weekly seats we are at some 48% of last year’s capacity, which from recent industry assessments is likely to be around where we will remain for the remainder of the year unless some dramatic development occurs. Passenger demand continues to be much weaker with traveller confidence drained by spikes of Covid-19 activity in both Asia and Europe.”

Netherlands

Dutch airline KLM has said that it will extend its European network from 72 destinations in July to 91 destinations in August, September and October. The number of intercontinental destinations will increase from 51 in July, to 59 in August and 61 in September and October.

Compared to 2019, said the carrier, the European network is almost at its pre-COVID-19 level in terms of number of destinations. However, the number of flights still lags far behind last year’s level. In August 2020, there were about 10,000 flights, in September 13,500 and in October more than 11,000 are planned. In 2019, there were more than 19,000, 18,800 and 14,700 flights in these months respectively.

The number of long-haul flights is also lagging behind last year: around 2,000 are scheduled in August and September and just over 1,800 in October. Last year there were about 3,300, 3,200 and almost 2,600 flights respectively.

KLM says it has opted “to expand the number of destinations first, so that customers have the widest possible choice. The next step is to increase frequencies or increase capacity by deploying larger aircraft on certain routes.”

Kenya

Kenya Airways is resuming international flight operations from 1 August, restarting services on key routes across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and India.

The airline has also introduced a number of enhanced safety and hygiene measures onboard its fleet and in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. This includes temperature checks, mandatory face mask wearing, enhanced onboard services, pre-packed meals, and the use of PPEs by cabin crew.

Singapore

Singapore Airlines and SilkAir have increased the frequency of selected services in their combined passenger network for August and September. The carriers will reinstate flights to Cebu, Milan, Phnom Penh and Taipei. As a result, the group’s passenger capacity in August and September will reach around 7% of its pre-crisis levels.

Bahrain/Kuwait

In a further boost to intra-regional travel in the Middle East, Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, will resume direct flights to and from Kuwait Airport from 1 August.

Italy

Italian winery and distillery Bottega has reopened its Prosecco Bar at Rome Fiumicino Airport. As reported, the Terminal 3 space enjoyed record sales soon after its unveiling last year.


Bottega Prosecco bars at Milan Malpensa Airport and Belluno railway station resumed operations in June, along with those on the Viking Group’s Cinderella and Amorealla ships, which operate in the Baltic Sea.

To manage the reopenings, Bottega and its partners have developed a safety protocol that draws from hygiene management in its wine cellars and distillery. Premises have been equipped with aeration systems with sanitised air, which, according to Bottega, is an effective barrier against any type of virus. Other cleaning and PPE requirements are also in place.

Qatar/Finland

Qatar Airways is to resume three weekly flights to Helsinki from 29 July. The restart will see the national carrier of the State of Qatar operate 22 weekly flights to the Nordics, with daily flights to Oslo and Stockholm and five weekly flights to Copenhagen.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are glad to see Helsinki return to our network, a significant indicator of the recovery of the Nordic travel market. With a total of 22 weekly flights to the region we are delighted to be the first Gulf carrier to offer flights to the four Nordic capitals of Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm.

“While the drop in air travel demand due to Covid-19 forced us to temporarily suspend services to Helsinki, we are proud to have never stopped flying to Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. As we pass the worst of the crisis, we look forward to increasing our services to the Nordic region to support the recovery of tourism and trade in the region.”

By the start of August, the airline’s network will expand to close to 500 weekly flights to over 75 destinations.

UK/Russia

As Russia begins to reopen its borders, budget airline Wizz Air is resuming services from the UK to Moscow and St. Petersburg from 15 August.

Flights from Luton Airport to St. Petersburg will run weekly, while flights to Moscow will run twice a week.

Germany

Frankfurt Airport passenger traffic continues to edge higher during July, as the latest weekly traffic data from parent Fraport Group show. In the week to 26 July, passenger volumes reached 321,746. This was a fall of -79.7% year-on-year but an increase on the 307,560 figure in the week from 13-19 July. That in turn was a rise on the 275,129 passenger recorded between 6 and 12 July.

Turkey

Istanbul Airport has published an upbeat video message about the shopping opportunity at the Turkish hub (through Gebr Heinemann-led partnerships with Unifree Duty Free and ATÜ Duty Free), and the safety measures taken to ensure staff and traveller health on their journey through the airport. Click on the icon below to play.

Europe

Low-cost carrier Ryanair expects to operate around 60% of its normal flight schedule in August, rising to 70% in September, against the backdrop of eased travel restrictions within Europe. The company, which revealed Q1 2020/21 results today (to 30 June), said it expects traffic in the financial year as a whole to reach 60 million, from 149 million in the previous year, a fall of around -60%.

On the outlook, Ryanair said: “The crisis has already seen the closure of various EU airlines including Flybe, Germanwings, Level and Sun Express. It has sparked a multi-billion flood of illegal State Aid from EU Governments to their flag carrier airlines including Alitalia, Air France/KLM, Lufthansa, SAS, TAP and others. This illegal State Aid will distort competition and allow unsustainable flag carriers to engage in below cost selling for many years to come.

“Many other airlines are cutting capacity, with the result that air travel in Europe is likely to be depressed for at least the next two or three years. This will create opportunities for Ryanair to grow its network, and expand its fleet, to take advantage of lower airport and aircraft cost opportunities that will inevitably arise.”

In Q1, Ryanair revenue fell by -95% (almost €2.2 billion) to just €125 million as traffic dropped -99% to 500,000. The net loss was £185 million in the quarter compared to a profit of £243 million a year ago.

Rwanda

RwandAir, the national airline of Rwanda, will restart commercial flights from Kigali Airport on 1 August. It will begin a three times weekly service to Dubai and will also add flights on selected African routes, where travel restrictions have been eased and borders have reopened. These routes will initially include Cotonou, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Kilimanjaro, Libreville, Lusaka and Nairobi.

The airline suspended commercial flights on 20 March as the COVID-19 pandemic spread.

RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo said: “Now travel bans and restrictions are being relaxed, we can once again resume flying and look forward to welcoming our highly-valued customers back to RwandAir.

“We want to ensure our return to flying matches consumer demand as the world adapts to travel in the post-COVID-19 world, where the health, safety and security of our customers and staff will continue to be of paramount importance.”

Germany

Lufthansa is extending its flight schedule for the months ahead to include two new destinations from Frankfurt, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. The new services will begin on 3 October.

By the end of October, Lufthansa said previously, over 90% of originally planned short- and medium-haul destinations and over 70% of long-haul destinations will be served again.

The group previously has offered around 40% of its programmed services in July, with around 200 more aircraft flying than in June.

Nigeria

Minister for Aviation Hadi Sirika has confirmed that 14 airports in Nigeria have now opened for domestic traffic, with more to follow. They include Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Maiduguri, Uyo, Kaduna, Yola, Calabar, Sokoto, Bimin, Jos and Benin.

Turkey

TAV Airports has said that its airport network, led by Turkey, is now “mostly reopened to international traffic”. Its operations in Georgia (Tbilisi and Batumi), already partially open, will resume activity fully in September. Medinah Airport in Saudi Arabia has resumed domestic flights, with the restart of international traffic yet to be announced.

The company updated the market as it announced first-half traffic, with the figure of 11.4 million passengers down by -70% year-on-year.

Ankara Esenboga Airport is one of many TAV locations to have reopened recently to international traffic

TAV Airports Holding Executive Board Member & CEO Sani Sener said: “What really matters for a rebound in international traffic are the bilateral agreements between countries to open their borders mutually. As the countries reopen their borders with each other, we have started to see some rebound in the number of passengers served. Two of our key markets which are UK and Russia have opened to regular commercial traffic with Turkey. Turkey has handled the Covıd-19 outbreak very well and is ready to welcome tourists from the EU as well. Reopening of the borders between EU and Turkey will speed up the recovery in international traffic.”

He added: “We have responded to this global crisis very decisively with regards to our operational expenses and have reduced monthly operational expenses from €36 million to €16 million in the second quarter of 2020. With this reduction, we have achieved a savings of 32% in the first half.

“We have also made the necessary applications to the aviation authorities in each country that we operate for all our airports to be compensated for our losses of revenue based on the ‘pandemic’ clauses or ‘force majeure’ definitions in our contracts. Depending on the content of each contract, this compensation could be in the form of time extension, rent postponement or other methods to compensate our losses.”

TAV said it will close the deal to operate Almaty Airport by Q3. It was first announced in May. Sener said: “We expect the 6.5 million passengers currently served to increase significantly after our investments. We expect Almaty to have a positive effect on the valuation multiples of TAV Airports once the transaction closes and traffic normalises back to 2019 levels.”

UK

Stobart Air — operator of Aer Lingus’s regional routes — has opened a regional base in Belfast City Airport. It has launched six new routes from Belfast City Airport to Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Exeter.

Flights to Edinburgh and Exeter begin on 27 and 28 August respectively; while flights to Manchester and Birmingham will start on 14 September. Flights to East Midlands and Leeds Bradford will start on 1 October.

Stobart Air will base five ATR72-600 aircrafts in Belfast City Airport. It plans to operate over 200 weekly flights from Belfast.

UK

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”.

“A wide range of retail is now open, from World Duty Free and Dixons Travel to the Harry Potter Shop,” says Heathrow Airport (World Duty Free stores at T2 pictured)

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

Latin America

A useful snapshot of recent and planned airport reopenings by country in Latin America and Caribbean, courtesy of ACI and ASUTIL (click to enlarge)

Qatar

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.”

By the end of July, the Qatar Airways network will serve more than 70 destinations

UAE

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.

Australia

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: Back to annual traffic figures last seen a decade ago due to the pandemic

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.”

UK

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
  • easyJet:
    • Bilbao
    • Bordeaux
    • Dubrovnik
    • Santorini
    • Split
  • Jet2.com:
  • TUI:
    • Malaga
    • Alicante
    • Fuerteventura
    • Las Palmas
    • Reus
    • Zante

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.

Opening soon:

  • 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

Already open:

  • 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

China

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.

A traveller entering Hongqiao Airport, where a range of health & safety measures have been put in place

Netherlands/China

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.

Netherlands

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.

USA

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.

International

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.”

Germany

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

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.

USA

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.

International Shoppes at JFK T1: Open for limited periods as travel resumes

International

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.

Plaza Premium Lounge said that frequent sanitisation of all areas of its facilities is now standard practice to safeguard both travellers and employees

UK

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.

EasyJet is reintroducing 100 flight routes from the UK beginning August

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

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.

Egypt

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.

Australia

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”.

The passenger traffic picture for the top ten nationalities at Sydney Airport in June (click to enlarge)

 

UK

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.

Italy

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.

France/International

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.

Mactan-Cebu International in the Philippines is one of a growing number of airports serving travellers again across the Groupe ADP network

South Africa

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.”

Iraq

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.

UK

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.

Australia/New Zealand

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.

Kuwait

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.’’

UAE

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.

Welcome return: The Emirates A380 resumes operations today

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.

Estonia

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 marks a welcome return for all its ships in the Baltic Sea fleet today

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.”

Norway

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.

UK

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”.

Back in the skies: Virgin Atlantic aims to return to profit from 2022

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.”

France

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.

Scotland

Edinburgh Airport Head of Retail Linsey Jordan rightly notes the importance of the duty free sector to Scotland’s spirits industry in a post on LinkedIn. “World Duty Free provides a major outlet for the Scottish whisky and spirit industry. It was great to reopen the doors this morning [13 July] and welcome back the Dufry team to Edinburgh Airport.”

Canada

Masks cannot disguise happiness nor enthusiasm and it’s the eyes that tell the story here. From Jackie McDonagh, General Manager and Director North America at Aer Rianta International, comes this joyous image from Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. “Delighted to be working with my team in Montréal Airport today getting ready for the reopening tomorrow [14 July]. 24 hour countdown is on,” she writes. Good to see Jackie and the team truly back in The Loop.

UAE

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.”

Spain

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%).

Germany

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.

Germany

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.

UK

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.

UK

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.

Switzerland

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).

Germany

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.

Aida Perla pictured in Hamburg, also home to Gebr Heinemann, a long-time partner of Aida Cruises (Photo: Joern Pollex)

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.”

China

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.

Thailand

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.

UAE

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.

The Netherlands

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.”

Latvia

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.

airBaltic has announced an enhanced schedule through to late August as well as a revised flight programme for 2021

USA

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.

Malaysia

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.”

Netherlands

“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.

UAE

“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.

Philippines

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.

Singapore

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.

UAE

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.

Australia

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.”

UK

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.

Italy

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.”

Aelia Duty Free staff mark the reopening in style (Photo: Lagardère Travel Retail Italia via LinkedIn)

France

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.

Nigeria

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.

UK

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.”

Singapore

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.

Popular attraction Jewel Changi Airport reopened on Friday with a campaign to entice local visitors

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.

Lebanon

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.

UK

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!”

*LinkedIn

David Smith, Dufry General Manager at Birmingham Airport, writes on LinkedIn: “Delighted to have reopened the World Duty Free main store at Birmingham Airport on 1st July. Really proud of my team who worked so hard to prepare for opening in a short timeframe and did a terrific job of adapting quickly to the new trading environment. Great to be back.” And great to have them – and all the duty free teams around the airport world – back.

From UK staffing and travel retail promotional agency Blackjack Promotions comes this uplifting picture of World of Whiskies – one of the world’s best standalone airport stores. Blackjack’s message is understandably upbeat: “Look who’s back.. back again! Ahmed, one of our star Brand Ambassadors working in Heathrow T5, ready to share his whisky knowledge in World of Whiskies at World Duty Free.”

UK

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.

The Department for Transport will monitor the COVID-19 situation in each of the travel corridor countries and reintroduce self-isolation requirements if necessary (click to enlarge)

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.

Denmark

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.”

Germany

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.”

Germany

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.

USA

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.



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