Ryanair, TUI, easyJet, Jet2 and other airlines have released more updates on the likelihood of holidays going ahead.
Many people are wondering when they will be able to go on holiday again, especially as we’ve been in the midst of a thunderstorm all week and are craving some sun.
Major airlines are providing new updates to the dates and lifting of travel restrictions each week, and a number are now planning a gradual return.
This week, easyJet has resumed flights across the UK and France and it looks like many others will ramp up their flights over the next few weeks too.
However, the UK Foreign Office’s warning regarding non-essential travel remains the same – that all international travel other than essential travel is advised against.
The government has also now imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine policy for anybody arriving in the UK.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was asked on BBC Breakfast why Brits aren’t being questioned for leaving the country. He said: “That is a fundamental misunderstanding of Foreign Office travel advice.
“We – based on the risk to UK travellers abroad because of terrorism or because of Covid-19 or the vulnerability of the systems in the country – give advice.”
He added that the final decision of travel is for the traveller themselves to make.
TUI had previously announced that it would be restarting travel on July 1st, however this has been pushed back a further nine days with trips on or before July 10th being cancelled.
The tour operator has revealed that they are confident things will restart soon with partial operations this summer. They also revealed that winter holidays are up by 6% and summer 2021 looks promising.
Jet2 has recently pushed back restarting flights from June 17th to July 1st. However, the most recent updates look to July 15th as the date operations will commence.
The company said in a statement: “Due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’ve decided to recommence our flights programme on 15 July 2020. If you’re travelling before this date, unfortunately, your booking will be affected as our flights won’t be operating.
Ryanair has said that 40% of its regular flight schedule will resume on July 1st, with CEO Eddie Wilson saying: “Ryanair will be offering up to 1,000 daily flights from 1 July, and we have a range of low fare seat sales, perfect for that summer getaway, which we know many parents and their kids will be looking forward to as we move out of lockdown and into the school holidays.”
He continued: “All Ryanair flights will operate with new health guidelines in place, which will require all passengers (and Ryanair crews) to wear face masks at all times in the airport terminals and on board our aircraft, in compliance with EU guidelines.
easyJet restarted some domestic flights on June 15th within the UK and France. They state that almost half their routes will be open by the end of July and a further 25% by the end of August.
Between July and September flights will be at a lower frequency than normal, meaning easyJet will be operating at around 30% its normal capacity.
Virgin Atlantic has announced its plans to restart passenger flights on July 20th, with flights from London Heathrow to Orlando, Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York and Los Angeles. More destinations are expected to be added in August.
Norwegian has announced that flights to and from UK airports will begin on July 1st on four main routes that will connect Gatwick and Edinburgh with Oslo and Copenhagen.
The airline’s chief executive, 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.”
Air Malta is set to commence its summer schedule on July 1st flying to 22 destinations within Europe. Flights from Manchester Airport will begin in August.
There will be flights to Rome, Lyon, Marseille, Catania, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, and Prague. From July 15th there will also be operating flights to Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, London Heathrow, Lisbon, Madrid, Palermo, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Orly.
‘Far too early’ for Britons to be thinking about booking summer holidays, vaccines minister says
Nadhim Zahawi said that British travellers should not book summer 2021 holidays yet.
Those looking forward to jetting off this summer are warned that it is still ‘far too early’ to be thinking about going away given the rate of the virus in the UK.
When asked if it was too soon for the public to book holidays, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
“Absolutely. I think it’s far too early.
“There’s still 37,000 people in hospital with Covid at the moment. It’s far too early for us to even speculate about the summer.”
He later spoke to Times Radio where he said it was still ‘too early’ to know if summer holidays will go ahead.
There will be a meeting with senior ministers held today to consider further travel restrictions including the possibility of requiring travellers to quarantine at a designated hotel.
It is not clear the exact details of such a measure including how long this would be in place for.
“There will be an announcement on this issue later on today,” Mr Zahawi said.
The BBC reports that ministers are expected to approve the plan to require UK citizens to quarantine in a hotel if they arrive in the country from a high-risk country.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Zahawi said: “We review our border policy like any other responsible country would – Germany and Canada did a similar thing in January.
“We’ve done that with the pre-departure testing that is now required to enter the UK and of course with passenger locator forms.
“There will be an announcement on this issue later on today, so I can only say to you that it is the right thing to do, because I am the vaccines minister, that as we vaccinate more of the adult population, if there are new variants like the South African or the Brazilian variants, we need to be very careful.
“We acted on those very quickly and of course dealt with travel from those countries, and from Portugal and elsewhere, rapidly so it is important we continue to review our border policy and an announcement will be made when a decision has been taken.
“And of course the industry itself will be engaged with heavily, including (Health Secretary) Matt Hancock engaging with the industry to explain the decision making at health, as well as of course the business department with the Business Secretary.”
Chief executive of Best Western hotel groups told the BBC that the hotel industry was ready to assist the government if they did opt for such a policy. He said the sector was ‘familiar and accustomed to managing Covid-positive customers in our hotels’.
Mr Paterson added: “From the hotels’ perspective, we would have to treat each of these customers as Covid-positive, so we would have to have strong infection control and protocols around security in the hotel to ensure we can deliver safely.”
An announcement on this from the government is expected to be made on Wednesday.
Travellers arriving in UK without negative Covid test fined £500 then let in anyway
Anyone arriving in the UK must now show a negative Covid test
The new rules for travellers came into effect at the start of the week, with people entering the UK now required to show proof of a negative Covid test.
But according to reports, some passengers have been turning up without a valid negative coronavirus test, and are being fined £500 each and allowed to enter the country by Border Force.
Speaking to the Mail Online, the Home Office confirmed that anyone who arrives without the necessary proof will be fined but still let into the country – although they are required to quarantine for ten days.
People have been facing two hour queues as they arrived into the country due to the new checks, although some passengers claimed there was a complete lack of social distancing.
Gabrielle Rivers, a research fellow at Oxford University, told The Times after arriving from Washington: “I don’t know how they would expect old people to cope. They are crowding people together in tight spaces. If we didn’t have Covid then, we will now. It was very rammed.”
Journalist Graeme Culliford, arriving from Dubai, added: “It took a while because of the queues at customs. I suspected they would not check for negative Covid tests but they did. They were very thorough in the end.
“There were a few altercations between passengers and border officials and at one point I heard one official say he’d fined three people £500 already for not having proof of a test.”
Following the government’s suspension of travel corridors, anyone arriving in the UK – including British citizens – must now have a negative test and quarantine on arrival.
These measures were brought in to stop the spread of new coronavirus variants, including the ones that have originated in South African and Brazil.
Spain’s new tourism plan will let Brits holiday without restrictions in a matter of months
Spain has revealed when it will be reopening to British holidaymakers with restriction-free travel.
In a bid to boost tourism and welcome tourists back to Spain the country has launched a campaign that should reassure travellers it’s safe to visit.
Currently, Spain remains off the UK travel corridor list meaning arrivals from the country will have to self-isolate on entry to Britain (excluding the Canary Islands).
Visitors must present a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours on arrival to enter the country.
The latest €2 million campaign hopes to welcome visitors without restrictions by the end of March, reports the MEN.
There will be a daily updated ‘Travel Safe’ section on the spain.info website which will have measures in individual regions including, for example, restaurant capacities.
The Turespaña strategy will continue while coronavirus restrictions remain, already welcome in popular destinations including Menorca and Ibiza.
The Balearic Islands are expected to be the first to welcome restriction-free travel. The Balearic tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, told local media: “First of all, however, there is the task of positioning, selling and explaining to the world that the islands are a safe destination.”
See the Covid-19 measures in Spain here.