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 stricken 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 planning for and investing in the recovery; how governments are opening borders; and how various stakeholders are shaping up for the new normal.
We will be covering the gradual opening up of the travel world across all platforms with the hashtag #TimeForTravel.
A survey of London City Airport customers has shown strong demand for air travel as the airport prepares to reopen on 21 June.
The survey of more than 4,700 customers found that:
*79% were either ‘very likely’ or ‘quite likely’ to travel when they are told it is safe to do so by the government and airports or airlines – almost half of customers (48%) were ‘very likely’ to do so
*42% of the airport’s customers plan to travel for leisure within the next three months.
*41% of City Airport’s flyers said they will take a flight for business within the next three months.
London City Airport Chief Executive Robert Sinclair said: “This clear early demand from our passengers to get back to flying is really encouraging. It shows a desire to not only enjoy a holiday soon after nearly three months of lockdown, but to get back to business travel as well.
“We have worked hard to create a safe environment at the airport, so they can get back to flying in confidence. At the same time, we have been careful not to sacrifice the speed through the airport which passengers have always valued and is now more important than ever, as these results show.
“With the aviation market opening up across Europe this week, it is my hope that air bridges can be agreed quickly with low-risk European neighbours. This news would be a shot in the arm for the industry as well as for the wider UK economy.”
London City Airport, closed since 25 March, will initially serve domestic routes, with the first flight to the Isle of Man on 21 June.
New routes will begin between central London and Teesside in the North East and Dundee in Scotland on 6 July. These will be operated by Eastern Airways and Loganair respectively. It is expected that key UK-Ireland routes, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin, will return in July.
International flights to in-demand destinations like Ibiza, Florence, Málaga and Palma are also expected to return to London City Airport over the coming weeks.
The airport said it had been careful “not to sacrifice the speed and convenience that frequent City Airport flyers value so highly”. 59% of customers said speed to and through the airport is very important for them, while 85% of respondents said they would be more likely to use an airport if they can get to their gate in 20 minutes or less.
London City Airport will limit access to the terminal to passengers only and will ask passengers to wear a face covering while at the airport – 76% of customers said that they would choose to wear a face mask anyway.
With social distancing and personal hygiene important, 78% of City flyers said they were more likely to avoid check-in desks, while 65% said having hand sanitiser stations in multiple locations is ‘very important’.
In September 2020, Wizz Air, the European low-cost airline, will establish a new base at Pulkovo St. Petersburg Airport. This will be the carrier’s first base in Russia and its 32nd in the world. Along with the establishment of the new base, Wizz Air will launch five new services from the northern capital of Russia to Salzburg (Austria), Oslo (Norway), Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm Skavsta (Sweden) and Malta, starting from 18 September.
From July, Norwegian will operate 76 routes from its Scandinavian hubs to key cities across Europe. Since April, the airline has only operated eight aircraft and been solely flying domestic routes in Norway. A further 12 aircraft will now re-join the fleet.
Norwegian CEO Jacob Schram said: “Feedback from our customers has shown that they are keen to get back in the air and resume their travels with Norwegian beyond the current domestic services that we have been operating.”
From 1 July, Norwegian will reintroduce flights connecting Oslo and Copenhagen with London Gatwick and Edinburgh. London to Oslo will be operated seven times a week, London to Copenhagen six times a week, and there will be two flights a week connecting Edinburgh with each of Oslo and Copenhagen, the airline said.
Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate commented: “The restart of regular Norwegian services from Gatwick is very welcome news and reflects the strength of the relationship and success the airline has had at Gatwick in recent years, as well as the fact that consumer demand is picking up as more people want to start flying again.”
Air Malta has announced its Safe Corridor summer 2020 schedule, which will start running from 1 July.
The airline has for the last three months only been operating ‘lifeline’ flights from the island. Flights to Rome, Lyon and Marseille, Catania, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva and Prague will commence on 1 July.
On 15 July, Malta will be connected with Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, London Heathrow, Lisbon, Madrid, Palermo, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Orly.
The Maltese airline has also added Madrid as a destination for the first time in ten years. Flights to the Spanish capital will start from 18 July.
Air Malta said it would run a social media campaign to promote tourism in Malta this summer.
KLM will resume its daily flights connecting Leeds Bradford Airport with Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on 4 July.
Leeds Bradford Airport Chief Commercial Officer Joanna Wild said: “We’re extremely pleased to be supporting KLM in recommencing its flights to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport next month. This is an important and popular route for LBA, as passengers are able to access 165 KLM destinations worldwide via Amsterdam.”
KLM General Manager for UK & Ireland Benedicte Duval added that KLM is “committed to guaranteeing our passengers the highest levels of health and safety”.
Around 1,000 more passengers per day travelled through Melbourne Airport in May compared to April, as domestic air travel began its slow road to recovery. Domestic traveller numbers increased by around 27,000 month on month, but a decline in repatriation flights meant that total numbers grew by just 10,000. The overall traffic decline year-on-year was -97.5%.
Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said the uplift in domestic numbers showed there was some demand in the market, but cautioned that the nation’s response to the COVID-19 health crisis would necessarily limit movement around the country.
“The clear reality is that a return to our FY19 passenger numbers is going to be a slow process that we work through over many months – even a number of years. We know we have an integral role in helping to facilitate a safe, sensible and ultimately sustainable return to the skies.
“Our own market research and the small but significant gain in domestic traveller numbers show there’s definitely pent-up demand to fly.
“But it has to be done safely and at the right time for all those millions of Australians who have put holidays, family catch-ups and important business all on hold during the pandemic.
“That latent demand will be extremely important to our domestic tourism industry in the coming months, and it will be the cause for optimism for whichever party succeeds in their bid for the Virgin Australia business.”
The two major South Korean airlines – Korean Air and Asiana Airlines – are planning to fly to more international destinations in July.
Korean Air hopes to add eight destinations (Dallas, Vienna, Ulaanbaatar, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Qingdao and Hong Kong) to its itinerary.
A spokesperson for the airline told Korea JoongAng Daily: “The list is just a plan, and there is a possibility it could change depending on how the situation develops. For instance, we were planning to expand routes flying to China in June, but couldn’t due to restrictions from the Chinese government.”
Asiana Airlines will restart flights to London, Paris, Istanbul and Osaka, as well as increase its service to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Frankfurt and Hong Kong.
Munich Airport retail subsidiary eurotrade has reopened four of its shops at the Bavarian gateway.
The retailer yesterday opened one of its MyDutyFree shops, a MyCorner convenience store and luxury boutiques from Hermès and Rolex.
Eurotrade Director of Purchasing & Category Management Nils Schirmer said: “It was a small but very important step back to normality for our partners and for us – but obviously also the travellers were happy to go shopping again.”
Munich Airport said in a statement today that around 12 shops had reopened, with selected bars and restaurants also beginning to trade again.
Lagardère Travel Retail is continuing its reopening drive across Italian airports. After the recent opening of its Aelia Duty Free store at Rome Fiumicino Airport, the retailer has now reopened its main duty free store at Venice Marco Polo Airport.
Lagardère thanked its partners for assisting with the reopening and said its team was ready to give customers a high-quality in-store experience.
“It is another important step for our staff in Italy and our partner airport in Venice, where traffic and operations have been fully resumed. We are definitely looking forward to the next few weeks to bring more exciting news,” Lagardère added.
Flight price comparison service Dollar Flight Club has revealed which destinations are trending for near-term travel from the US and Canada.
The findings, which are based on analysis from the Dollar Flight Club website and app in the past week, found that Athens is the most trending destination for travel in July-September 2020. The report also found Kailua-Kona in Hawaii, Reykjavik, Miami and San Diego are popular for late summer getaways this year.
For winter trips in November 2020-January 2021, Dollar Flight Club found that Paris, Cancún, Kailua-Kona, New York and Rome are the most trending destinations.
From 23 June, the UAE will allow its citizens and residents to travel to specific destinations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said a list of permitted destinations and groups authorised to travel will be announced later.
Procedures for before, during and after travel will also be confirmed.
Travel and tourism company TUI has announced its planned summer programme.
The company started its summer season yesterday with two flights from Germany to Majorca.
TUI said it plans to continue resuming flights to holiday destinations from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland in the coming weeks. The company added that it anticipates resuming flights from the UK and Nordic countries later in the summer.
Based on these restart dates, TUI said it would operate 30% of its planned business in July, August and September.
Spanish airports group Aena has announced plans to increase operations in the country’s main airports.
At Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, where only Terminal 4 has been in operation since April, Terminal 1 will reopen on 1 July.
In Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, the Terminal 1 side dock that connects Zones A and D – the only parts of the airport to have remained operational – will open on the same date. Terminals 2A and 2B at the Barcelona airport are expected to reopen in August.
In Palma de Mallorca Airport, one third of Terminal C opened yesterday (15 June). More of the airport will resume activity in August, with Terminal C and A set to be fully operational in September.
El 1 de julio, @aena reabrirá la T1 del #Aeropuerto #Madrid-Barajas, parte de la espada de #Barcelona-ElPrat y nuevos espacios en el de Palma de #Mallorca. Toda la red de aeropuertos ha implantado los protocolos para una movilidad y un Turismo seguro. #EsteVirusLoParamosUnidos pic.twitter.com/qybsR4R8kn
— José Luis Ábalos (@abalosmeco) June 15, 2020
From 1 July, Aena’s airports will screen for potential COVID-19 cases using thermal imaging cameras.
Václav Havel Airport Prague will be connected to a total of 55 destinations by 17 airlines in the coming weeks.
The Czech airport is currently connected with ten destinations. Direct flights to seven further airports (Belgrade, Brussels, Budapest, Košice, Keflavik, Manchester and Munich) will resume this week.
Prague Airport Board of Directors Chairman Vaclav Rehor said: “Thanks to our thorough and intensive negotiations with airlines, Prague Airport has been able to facilitate the gradual resumption of the direct air connections that were available to passengers before the COVID-19 pandemics and the connected worldwide crisis. At the moment, we have confirmed resumed operations on routes to a total of 55 destinations.”
Rehor added: “The health and safety of passengers is our utmost priority. Therefore, we have introduced strict safety measures at the airport.”
The Bermuda government has announced international travel to and from the island through L.F. Wade International Airport will resume on 1 July.
Officials are working on a policy that will enable travellers who test negative 72 hours in advance of travel and on arrival in Bermuda to have freedom of movement around the island.
“As we work to finalise the protocols and requirements for travel to Bermuda, rest assured, we will always place the safety of our island and its people above all else,” Bermuda’s Minister of Tourism & Transport Zane DeSilva added.
Bermuda will re-open for air travellers starting July 1, 2020. Over the last several months, we’ve been dedicated to protecting our island home for residents & guests to enjoy for years to come. When you are ready, we are out here to extend a warm welcome: https://t.co/Sr3vviiaH6 pic.twitter.com/vFfKaKbUMv
— Bermuda (@Bermuda) June 11, 2020
As Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines ramp up their domestic and international services, Istanbul Airport has opened its third independent runway. The project was inaugurated at a special ceremony on Sunday led by the country’s President Tayyip Erdogan, with operations to begin on 18 June. Istanbul is the first airport in Turkey and only the second in Europe (after Amsterdam Airport Schiphol) to operate three independent parallel runways.
The third runway marks the latest step in Istanbul Airport’s vision to become the largest airport in the world with a plan to serve 200 million passengers a year.
IGA Airport Operation Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Kadri Samsunlu said: “Istanbul Airport is the largest infrastructure investment ever put into practice in the history of the Republic and the most significant economic asset of our nation. Hence, Istanbul Airport will be a locomotive force in the future development of our country.”
As reported during our visit to Istanbul in February, the third runway will reduce taxi times by around -50% on average. Landing and take-off waiting times will also fall, with capacity for flight movements rising from 80 to 120 per hour. This will mean daily capacity of more than 2,800 flights – the largest number of any European airport.
Crucially, the move will boost commercial dwell times (once traffic returns), as flagged by Unifree Duty Free CEO Ali Senher in an interview with The Moodie Davitt Report.
EasyJet today ran passenger flights for the first time since it ceased operations at the end of March. The airline is flying from 22 airports across Europe.
The first flight from the UK took off from Gatwick Airport at 7am for Glasgow – the same destination the airline first flew to when easyJet launched operations in November 1995.
Switzerland today reopened its borders with many other European countries.
The Swiss government is now allowing travel between Switzerland and all European Schengen states except for Spain. Switzerland is also now open to travel from Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and the UK.
Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport will reopen to commercial flights on 1 July, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has announced.
The airport will be restricted to 10% of normal capacity to ensure social distancing can be maintained and tests for COVID-19 will be conducted on all arrivals in Beirut.
Lagardère Travel Retail has reopened its Aelia Duty Free store at Rome Fiumicino Airport.
Announcing the news on LinkedIn, the retailer said: “[The] opening is the first of the milestones reached after the difficult period we went through and we are looking forward to seeing all our shops open again. The inexhaustible passion of our collaborators and their great teamwork made the reopening possible.”
Lagardère Travel Retail added that it will offer high-quality customer service while maintaining hygiene, cleanliness and social distancing.
In a welcome development, Phuket International Airport reopened to passenger traffic at the weekend. It closed on 30 March. A statement by Airports of Thailand confirmed the move, saying Phuket was open to take-offs and landings as of 00.01 on 13 June.
All Egyptian airports will open for international traffic on 1 July, the country’s Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Manar has announced.
Domestic Egyptian flights have continued during the pandemic, but the country’s airports have been shut off to international traffic since March.
Travellers from countries with high rates of coronavirus infection, based on World Health Organization assessments, will need to be tested before coming to the country.
The European Commission has called for the complete lifting of remaining intra-EU travel restrictions on 15 June, a move welcomed by Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlines for Europe (A4E), representing Europe’s airports and airlines. The Commission proposes starting to phase out restrictions for travel from and to other countries from 1 July.
The three aviation associations urged all EU and associated states to follow through on the Commission’s advice, pointing to the comprehensive aviation health and safety Protocol now in place – jointly developed by EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) and aligned with the global guidance of the International Civil Aviation Organization, as reported.
EASA emphasised the confidence that passengers can have in the health and safety measures in place throughout Europe.
“In close cooperation with ECDC, EASA produced comprehensive guidelines that set the foundation for a return to service for the aviation industry and recovery from this unprecedented crisis,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky. “The aim was to allow travel and tourism to be relaunched safely in the summer months, as soon as governments and public health authorities open up their borders. We are confident that, providing individuals behave responsibly and abide by the measures being put in place by airports and airlines, passengers can return to the skies with confidence.”
ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec said: “The aviation industry has the safety of its passengers, staff and communities running through its DNA. As we all re-emerge from the peak of the pandemic, airports and airlines are right there at the forefront of ensuring that we can all kick-start our economies – and frankly our daily lives, with confidence and security. This is why it is essential that governments play ball and now fully lift the remaining restrictions to intra-Europe travel. They also need to follow the plan set out by the Commission to start lifting restrictions with the rest of the world.”
Several airlines are reopening routes from Copenhagen Airport.
From mid-June, SAS will provide services from the Danish capital to 16 destinations including Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Athens, Nice and Malaga. The airline is also planning to operate on 40 of its 290 planned summer routes from airports across Scandinavia.
Emirates will also soon introduce passenger flights from Copenhagen to Dubai International (DXB).
The Danish hub handled 2.6 million passengers in May, down by -98.5% year-on-year. The airport company said it expects traffic to remain -85% to -95% down in June and for the rest of the Summer.
“The COVID-19 crisis has taught us that it’s extremely difficult to forecast anything about the future in the midst of a global pandemic. The situation changes from one week to the next, but the current outlook is for an unusually quiet summer with traffic at a mere 5-15 per cent of ordinary volumes,” said Chief Commercial Officer Peter Krogsgaard.
Summing up the wider industry uncertainty, he said: “There are many more questions than there are answers: How will the COVID-19 pandemic evolve? How many aviation operators will survive the crisis? What kind of travel guidelines will we get? Which national borders will open – and to whom? How will consumers respond? What steps will the airlines and travel operators take? We will need to answer these and other questions to provide any kind of guidance for the rest of the year.”
A “slow recovery” is taking place this month at Zürich Airport, with flight operations restarting and shops and restaurants, mainly landside, now trading again. The airport company noted that passenger volumes and the number of flight movements have gradually increased since the beginning of June.
It said: “Zürich Airport is prepared to gradually ramp up operations and works closely with the airport partners to ensure safe and efficient operations. While it is not yet possible to provide guidance for the expected traffic volumes for the current year, it is currently estimated that the pre-crisis level will be reached again in 2023.”
The airport handled 43,852 passengers in May, down by -98.4% year-on-year. Commercial turnover reached CHF7.8 million, down by -85.5% compared to the previous year. Within this, airside sales fell -99.5% and landside by -63.4%.
Thailand’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will propose the use of travel bubbles to the country’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, according to The Bangkok Post.
The report follows an aide of Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha saying China and Japan are interested in discussing travel bubbles, with the issue on the agenda for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting on 26 June.
Public Health Minister Anutin said that each side would have health screening for arriving passengers under the proposed travel bubbles.
Anutin added he felt it was time to reopen Phuket International Airport at the first opportunity, as Suvarnabhumi Airport had already reopened and there had been no local transmissions for more than two weeks.
Dubai Duty Free has continued its reopening drive by restarting operations in Terminal 2 of Dubai International Airport (DXB).
As reported, the world’s leading airport retailer at a single location this week started a partial reopening of its stores, having closed them on 25 March.
Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman & CEO Colm McLoughlin said the reopening in Terminal 2 would be “more good news for passengers flying on non-Emirates flights”.
The retailer added that it is following strict safety and sanitisation guidelines in the reopened stores.
Belfast International Airport will resume passenger flights on 15 June, with easyJet operating flights from the Northern Irish airport to London Gatwick, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Faro.
“Belfast International Airport is ready to welcome back our passengers. To reassure them, and everyone, we are working in line with all international guidance to continue to provide essential connectivity for Northern Ireland,” Belfast International Airport Managing Director Graham Keddie said.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has introduced a free interactive map to give travellers the latest information on travel restrictions.
The map, which relies on IATA’s Timatic database, is updated more than 200 times per day to keep pace with the dynamic COVID-19 situation. This means it can provide accurate up-to-date information based on one’s citizenship and country of residence.
Asia Pacific/Middle East
Airports Council International (ACI) Asia Pacific’s recent consultation with airports across the region and the Middle East has revealed airports are ready to resume operations safely.
ACI Asia Pacific said airports have introduced the measures recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Airports across the board are requiring front-line employees to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), have introduced sanitiser stations at regular touchpoints and are implementing social distancing, the association said. It added that temperature checks have been widely adopted as a health screening measure.
“We are encouraged to see the majority of public health authorities directly or jointly with airport operators deploying health screening measures such as temperature checks at the airports,” said ACI Asia-Pacific Director General Stefano Baronci.
“This close cooperation between public health authorities, civil aviation authorities and airports is critical for the sector to resume operations and rebuild passengers’ confidence to travel.”
Nonetheless, many airports have said the short-term measures “will not be sustainable for the longer term” as air travel continues to recover, Baronci added. “It is imperative for public health authorities, civil aviation authorities and airports to continue partnering to update and adapt health screening measures based on changing data and medical evidence as travel picks up,” he commented.
Baronci added that attempts to set up travel corridors in sub-regions was “a step in the right direction”.
Sangster International Airport will be welcoming international travellers from 15 June.
The airport’s operator, MBJ Airports, has introduced protocols throughout the traveller journey to ensure passengers socially distance and maximum hygiene levels are maintained.
We’re making every step of your journey through our airport as safe as possible; from enhanced standards, touchless technology, monitoring mechanisms, and the mandatory wearing of masks.
Your safety is our priority.
MBJ. The Caribbean’s Leading Airport. pic.twitter.com/nE9rLpzGir
— Sangster International Airport (@MBJAIRPORT) June 8, 2020
As well as the regular sanitation of touchpoints, food & beverage operators will prioritise disposable products to minimise passenger touchpoints.
“We have been in preparation mode to ensure the health and safety of all airport users as we plan for the reopening of borders,” MBJ Airports CEO Shane Munroe said.
Dufry reopened its store at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport on 1 June.
The retailer’s Caribbean Director, Gustavo Barba, has revealed he has been working on the shop floor to understand changed customer behaviour and support the team.
EasyJet is introducing six new routes from Luton Airport for summer 2021. The new destinations are Gran Canaria, Marrakech, Fuerteventura, Larnaca, Zakynthos and Varna.
It is also increasing the frequency of flights on 11 existing Luton routes.
The budget carrier is also launching a summer promotion to boost sales as travel begins to restart in Europe. It has put one million seats on sale — for travel from 1 July to 31 October — with prices beginning at £29.99 (US$38).
The airline is also planning to resume 50% of its 1,022 routes (511 routes) in July, and 75% (766 routes) in August. The lower frequency of flights equates to around 30% of the airline’s normal summer capacity.
EasyJet Chief Commercial and Planning Officer Robert Carey commented, “We’re passionate about helping our customers get back flying, which is why we’re offering one million seats at £29.99 for those planning on booking a holiday this summer. Travel restrictions are being lifted and demand is starting to return, so there’s no better time for us to introduce this sale.”
Japan Airlines (JAL) today announced an increase in its international flight frequency for July compared to June, although it remains far short of 2019 levels.
The company said: “Although entry restrictions continue to be implemented in various countries, the carrier has decided to operate scheduled flights to select international destinations in the United States, Europe, and Asia to help support customers planning to return to Japan and for those planning to travel for business and personal reasons.”
Japan Airlines’ international capacity will be down by -93% in July, compared to -96% in June.
It will fly next month to nine major cities in North America, ten in East Asia, nine in Southeast Asia, six in Europe, two in Oceania plus popular destinations Hawaii and Guam.
Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport will open again for passenger flights in the first week in July, Transport Minister Michel Najjar has told local media. The timing is expected to be confirmed in coming days. The airport will operate at 10-20% of normal capacity initially, said Minister Najjar.
ForwardKeys has revealed a recent jump in international flight bookings to Greece, Portugal and Spain as the tourist destinations announce the easing of travel restrictions.
ForwardKeys VP of Insights Olivier Ponti noted that the European aviation market was “in a state of suspended animation with nearly no new bookings” for most of April and May, yet an easing of restrictions over the last month has kickstarted the region’s booking market.
London Gatwick Airport is preparing to open its North Terminal on 15 June, with flights from easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Belavia, Vueling and Blue Island from that date.
Gatwick will increase its operating hours across terminals to 0600-2200, and has revealed a wide-ranging plan to protect passengers and staff.
Wellbeing and safety measures include:
- Passengers are required to wear a face covering within the airport with Gatwick staff mandated to wear face coverings in passenger-facing areas of the terminals. Face mask vending machines will also be made available at the airport;
- Encouraging good hand hygiene with hand washing facilities and hand sanitising stations;
- Frequent, enhanced deep cleaning of common-use surfaces throughout the airport with dedicated teams visible to respond to passenger concerns on cleanliness;
- Social distancing procedures in place at check-in, security, gate rooms, seating in departure halls and in restaurants, bars and shops;
- Installation of Perspex screens throughout the terminals, including check-in desks, and gate rooms.
In addition to passenger guidance online, digital and physical signage advising passengers of the new health measures is displayed throughout the airport (also available at this link).
Chief Executive Stewart Wingate said: “Having remained open throughout this pandemic the wellbeing and safety of our passengers and everyone that works at the airport remains our priority. We have introduced a range of new social distancing and hygiene solutions to help this happen so we can all help protect each other when travelling through the airport. We want people to understand that airports and air travel is a safe environment in this COVID-19 travelling world.
“We are pleased to be in a position to re-open the North Terminal and we look forward to welcoming back easyJet as they restart flights alongside our other airlines. The recent government announcement regarding the 14-day quarantine period for passengers arriving into the UK is, in our opinion, already having an impact on the start of air travel recovery. We accept the Government’s absolute priority is the protection of public health, but we continue to push for regular, country by country reviews of quarantine regulations, based on medical evidence.”
The group putting pressure on the UK government to drop restrictions on international arrivals has received assurance travel corridors will be put in place by the end of June.
While most countries have been easing their restrictions, the UK Government yesterday (8 June) introduced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals from outside the UK and Ireland. The Quash Quarantine collective of 500 travel and hospitality companies has responded by threatening legal action.
Quash Quarantine Spokesperson Paul Charles said the group has now “received private assurances from senior government sources that travel corridors will be in place from 29 June”.
He added: “We urge the government to signal to the travel industry publicly and urgently that this is the case, as well as amend advice on non-essential travel.”
Philippine Airlines has resumed operations on a number international and domestic services.
Some of the international destinations include Hong Kong, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Saigon, Haneda, Osaka, Nagoya, Doha, Dammam, Riyadh, Dubai, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Guam, Toronto and Vancouver. It also resumed services to 25 domestic destinations in the Philippines.
The airline noted that its current flight schedule is subject to changes depending on the current COVID-19 climate.
A plan to restart domestic and international flights in Oman has been submitted to the country’s committee in charge of COVID-19, Minister of Transport, His Excellency Ahmed Al Futaisi, has said.
Speaking during a press conference yesterday (8 June), Al Futaisi said: “The aviation sector is one of the most affected sectors, as there is almost complete disruption of commercial operations since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Public Authority of Civil Aviation prepared a recovery plan that was submitted to the Supreme Committee with specific dates to open domestic and then international flights, but the decision to restart air traffic lies with the Supreme Committee based on available data.”
Turkey will gradually resume international flights to 40 countries from 10 June.
Ahead of the resumption of flights, Istanbul Airport has released a video detailing the numerous measures taken to ensure maximum hygiene and safety throughout the airport.
“Istanbul Airport’s spacious terminal allows us to implement strict social distancing measures, whilst retaining comfort for passengers,” the airport added.
All incoming international passengers will be required to be tested before being allowed to enter Turkey. Istanbul Airport currently has the capacity to conduct 20,000 tests per day.
The EU has reached an overall agreement on the lifting of internal border controls across the bloc before the end of June.
Speaking after a meeting of the EU’s Ministers of Home Affairs, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said: “There is no longer a clear justification for travel restrictions or border measures within the EU-Schengen area.”
Johansson added that she welcomed “how member states are quickly lifting internal border restrictions”, although she did admit that a few restrictions could remain in place in July.
The EU also extended its ban on non-essential travel into the community from non-EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.
This has been extended from 15 June until 1 July, but a proposal will be issued this week on easing the restrictions in a coordinated, proportionate and non-discriminatory fashion.
Emirates will reintroduce flights from Dubai to 16 further cities from 15 June.
Following the UAE Federal Government’s announcement to lift restrictions on transit passengers services, Emirates will resume flights to Bahrain, Manchester, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, New York JFK, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Perth and Brisbane.
The airline said it was working closely with the UAE authorities to take a measured and phased approach to flight resumption.
The announcement comes as Dubai Duty Free begins the partial reopening of its stores at Dubai International Airport (DXB).
Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo Ratmalana Airport and Mattala Rajapaksa Hambantota Airport will be operating for tourist arrivals from 1 August.
There will be no quarantine on arrivals unless symptoms are detected, but a negative test is required less than 72 hours before boarding flights to Sri Lanka and on arrival.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Board added that all tourist sites will be open with safety protocols in place.
A red-letter day for Heidi Van Roon, President & Founder at Spark Business Services Group Inc & Spark Promotions at Vancouver Airport as her sales staff return to the shop floor. Spark is a best-in-class staffing and recruitment firm for luxury retail, specialised in the airport environment.
Heidi Van Roon was featured recently in The Moodie Davitt podcast series, In Crisis – Travel Retail Voices. Click on the podcast icon to listen.
Budapest Airport CEO Rolf Schnitzler has said traffic levels started to increase in early May and that more routes are likely to be reintroduced in June.
In an insightful interview with Budapest Business Journal, Schnitzler said: “The numbers have increased a little since the beginning of May, when airlines started to serve around 20 destinations again from Budapest. More flights are likely to restart in June, but for the moment, these are only plans. The situation is changing day by day.”
He added: “This is not like when Sleeping Beauty woke up from her slumber, and everything carried on as before. Unfortunately, we have to prepare for a long and gradual process. The resumption of passenger traffic is primarily dependent on when borders are reopened and to what extent the propensity to travel returns.”
The Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority, His Excellency Ali Salim Al Midfa, has welcomed the authorities’ decision to allow transit flights through UAE airports.
“The decision to resume transit flights via UAE airports is seen as a first step to be followed by further steps towards the full resumption of air transport and tourism sectors.
“Airlines are expected to resume their operations to Sharjah Airport very quickly, as demand soars high to many destinations to Sharjah, a renowned business, economic and tourism hub,” Al Midfa said.
He added that the airport had taken all necessary preventive measures to ensure the hygiene and safety of the airport facilities.
Malaysia Airlines has increased its domestic and international connectivity beginning June and July respectively, to facilitate essential travels locally and as other countries begin to lift border restrictions.
The airline will adjust its network capacity periodically to ensure passenger demands are met, prior to normalising the schedule in October for both domestic and international destinations.
Malaysia Airlines Group Chief Executive Officer Captain Izham Ismail said, “We are pleased to announce the resumption of our services by increasing capacity to domestic and international routes and we look forward to welcoming our passengers back onboard. We shall continue to ensure their safety, health, as well as their comfort by introducing new initiatives aligned with international safety and health protocols, as part of our commitment to offer passengers peace of mind throughout their journey with us.”
[Malaysia Airlines has just released a video titled ‘Ready to fly and rediscover Malaysia’ across its social media platforms. The airline hopes that by showcasing unique and beautiful domestic attractions located across the country, it can inspire Malaysians to explore the beauty of their homeland and boost local tourism efforts.]
AirAsia today commended the Government’s efforts in curbing the spread of Covid-19 and welcomed the announcement of the Recovery Movement Control Order, effective 10 June, by Prime Minister of Malaysia YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin today to revive Malaysia’s economy.
AirAsia said: “In recent weeks, countries around the world are resuming domestic travel and gradually reopening international borders in recognition that air transport provides the connectivity that is essential for the resumption of economic activities. The formation and discussion of travel bubbles and green lanes with key economic partners with a low infection rate and proven pandemic curbing systems, is a step in the right direction. The aviation and tourism sectors account for around 4% and 10% of world GDP, respectively. Over 65 million jobs are supported worldwide in the aviation sector, while 1 in 10 jobs around the world is contributed by the tourism sector.
“Air travel remains one of the safest modes of travel. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on board is extremely low. Aircraft are equipped with features that will reduce the already-low risk of transmission onboard. Passengers are seated facing forward with the seatback serving as a solid barrier, while the cabin air is fully filtered and renewed every 2-3 minutes through the hospital-grade HEPA filters, ensuring clean cabin air. Coupled with a layered approach of biosafety measures covering the entire passenger journey, the risk of transmission onboard is further minimised.
“At AirAsia, the health and wellbeing of our passengers remain our paramount concern. Besides complying with the advice and regulations from government and health authorities, AirAsia has also implemented end-to-end contactless procedures and a series of new safety measures, as well as taking care of those most at risk to ensure the safety of all travelling guests.”
In response to improved demand, American Airlines is planning to fly 55% of its domestic schedule and nearly 20% of its international schedule in July, compared to the same period last year.
By the last week of May, the airline carried a daily average of about 110,000 customers per day, an increase over the 32,000 average carried in April. The most popular domestic routes are to those in Florida, Gulf Coast cities as well as mountain destinations.
“We’re seeing a slow but steady rise in domestic demand. After a careful review of data, we’ve built a July schedule to match,” said American Senior Vice President of Network Strategy Vasu Raja. “Our July schedule includes the smallest year-over-year capacity reduction since March. We’ll continue to look for prudent opportunities to restore service so our customers can travel whenever and wherever they are ready.”
While international demand continued to be low, 4 June marked the return of service to eight overseas destinations. These include service from Dallas-Fort Worth to Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt, as well as service from Miami to Antigua in the Caribbean and Guayaquil and Quito in South America. American also restored additional services to London from Chicago and New York JFK.
American Airlines will begin reopening Admirals Club lounges in phases, beginning 22 June, after adapting these to reinforce the well-being of customers and staff. From that date, the clubs will offer pre-packaged snack offerings and a full-service bar.
Health and well-being improvements at Admirals Club lounges include:
- Plexiglass shields at reception and service desks.
- Foot-operated door openers to enable touchless operation of restroom doors (where feasible).
- Hand sanitiser stations for customers.
- Signage and floor decals to remind customers to practice social distancing.
In hugely welcome industry news, Dubai Duty Free has begun a partial reopening of its stores, beginning with those in Concourse B–West at Dubai International (DXB). Its Terminal 2 business is expected to open in coming days.
The world’s leading airport retailer at a single location closed on 25 March at DXB and Al Maktoum International Airport, following the UAE government’s suspension of flights due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
It has put in place a range of protective measures in-store for staff and customers, while adding a Concierge service and reintroducing Click & Collect.
For the full story, click here.
Antigua and Barbuda
Welcome news from Antigua and Barbuda as Morpho Travel Retail reopens the acclaimed Britt Shop destination merchandise concept at V. C. Bird International Airport.
By September, Lufthansa and its sister group airlines will operate flights to 90% of its short- and medium-haul destinations and will again serve 70% of long-haul destinations.
Lufthansa (the major airline in the group) will fly more than 100 times a week to destinations in North America via its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich in the Autumn. Around 90 flights a week are planned to Asia, over 20 to the Middle East and over 25 to Africa.
Although guidelines discourage interaction between crew and passengers, some services will be reinstated.
Customers will receive a disinfectant wipe before every flight. On short- and medium-haul flights in Business Class, the beverage and meal services will be reactivated.
On long-haul flights, guests in all classes will be offered the usual range of beverages. In First and Business Class, customers can once more choose from a range of dishes. In Economy Class, customers will also continue to receive a meal.
Positive news out of Belgium, a country hard hit by the COVIS-19 outbreak, as a recommencement of air travel is revealed by Brussels Airport Company Chief Executive Officer Arnaud Feist on LinkedIn.