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COVID-19: Europe travel industry news

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Articles - Europe

06/10/20 UK: EasyJet expands Luton network ahead of resumption of flights

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Six new routes are being added by easyJet from Luton airport for next summer. Zakynthos, Larnaca, Fuertevenura, Gran Canaria, Marrakech and the Bulgarian beach destination of Varna are being introduced. The budget carrier is also increasing the frequency of flights across 11 existing routes from Luton. The airline resumes flying from the airport on July 1, operating 90% of its existing Luton route network with more than 40 routes available, including Milan, Lisbon, Porto, Corfu, Rhodes, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Split, Tel Aviv and Reykjavik.        

Travel Weekly, 10 June, Online 

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06/10/20 Europe: Greece, Portugal and Spain see flight bookings take off

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The number of international flight tickets issued for Greece in the two weeks to June 3 rose from effectively zero to 35% of the level during the same period in 2019. Portugal saw a similar resurgence while the uplift to Spain reached 30%. Leisure travelers account for the bulk of new tickets, but recovery has been stronger amongst expats and people visiting friends and relatives. In that niche, air tickets to Greece, Portugal, and Spain, reached 89%, 87% and 54% of 2019 levels respectively, according to the latest data from travel analytics firm ForwardKeys.  

Travel Weekly, 10 June, Online 

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06/10/20 UK: Gatwick to reopen North Terminal

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Gatwick will reopen its North Terminal next week as several carriers resume flights from the airport. The airport says that from Monday June 15 operating hours will increase to 0600-2200, with easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Belavia, Vueling and Blue Island all resuming services from the North Terminal. The airport has introduced a number of new health and safety measures as it prepares to ramp up operations. 

Business Traveller, 10 June, Online 

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06/10/20 Europe: Hungary, Croatia to lift border restrictions from Friday

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Hungary and Croatia will lift restrictions on cross-border travel from Friday as coronavirus pandemic remains under control in both countries. Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said in a Facebook video that previous border openings with Austria, Slovakia, Serbia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic has not caused a spike in new cases. 

Reuters, 10 June, Online 

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06/11/20 UK: Surge in staycation demand reported as lockdown is eased

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Demand for staycations from next month has shot up by as much as 45%. There is a signal of a boost for domestic tourism. The data was released by lastminute.com in the wake of the UK imposing a two week quarantine. A survey by the company found that a third (33%) of people plan to stay in the UK this summer. The hotel booking trends show a 45% week-on-week increase for the UK, and in particular for London (+140%), Manchester (+300%), Blackpool (+200%) and Bristol (+200%). 

Travel Weekly, 10 June, Online 

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06/08/20 Europe: Balearics set for 'new normal' as restrictions are relaxed

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The Balearic Islands have moved towards the advanced stage of Spain’s post-pandemic reopening plan. Ibiza, Majorca, and Menorca have followed the footsteps of Formentera and entered the country’s third state – the last step on the path to the “new normal”. Balearic Islands Tourism Board has launched a new tool to enable travelers to create their own island-hopping itineraries. The digital travel planner is aimed at those considering holidays once travel restrictions are lifted. 

Travel Weekly, 8 June 2020, Online 

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06/08/20 Scandinavia: Sweden's Scandic hotels sees bookings double

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Sweden’s Scandic Hotels said on Monday its bookings per week had doubled over the past month amid easing pandemic restrictions. They forecast occupancy rates are to edge higher in the comings months. The operator of about 280 hotels across Northern Europe has been hit hard by a deep slump in travel due to the pandemic. Scandic said it is expected to have about 80% of its hotels open by the end of June. 

Reuters, 8 June 2020, Online 

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06/08/20 UK: ABTA demands government 'roadmap' to restart international travel

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The UK government is being urged by ABTA to bring forward a coordinated plan for restarting international travel on the day that a 14-day quarantine on international arrivals was imposed. ABTA warns that travel is facing a prolonged period of recovery and says givien the economic importance of the sector and the role travel plays in supporting employment, as well as facilitating trade between the UK and overseas partners, it is vitally important the government does all it can to support travel businesses through the current COVID-19 crisis. 

Travel Weekly, 8 June 2020, Online 

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06/07/20 Europe: Air Malta puts summer 2020 services on sale

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Air Malta has opened its reservation system and launched a summer 2020 schedule based on a ‘safe corridor’ concept. The airline has put flights to Catania in Italy, Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf and Berlin in Germany, Prague in Czechia, and Luxemburg on sale with services to begin from July 1, and flights to Zurich and Geneva in Switzerland the week after. No UK airports are included on Air Malta’s initial list of ‘safe corridor’ destinations. 

Travel Weekly, 7 June 2020, Online 

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06/06/20 Italy: Italy hopes EU nations will open borders to Italians from June 15

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As travel restrictions across Europe are gradually eased Italy hopes other EU countries will reopen their borders to Italian citizens. Italy, which has the world’s fourth highest COVID-19 death toll opened its doors to other EU citizens on June 3, but most European countries are still largely off-limits for Italian nationals. 

Reuters, 6 June 2020, Online 

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06/05/20 Scandinavia: SAS to operate most initial flights from Copenhagen

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Scandinavian carrier SAS will resume services on 21 short-haul routes this month. On June 15, the airline will begin flights from the Danish capital to Brussels, Dusseldorf, the Faroe Islands, Hamburg, Milan, Munich, Palanga in Lithuania, Reykjavik, Stuttgart, Trondheim in Norway, and Vilnius. All of the carrier’s domestic Norwegian destinations will be served by the end of June. The airline plans to double its capacity to 30 aircraft this month. 

Flight Global, 5 June 2020, Online 

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06/04/20 UK: Virgin Atlantic to resume flights from July 20

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Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to resume passenger flights next month. Heathrow Terminal 3 is currently closed, so the carrier will operate from Terminal 2 with flights to Orlando and Hong Kong launching on July 20, followed by routes to Shanghai, New York JFK, and Los Angeles restarting the following day. There will be no flights from Gatwick. New health and safety measures will include a personal health pack being provided for passengers containing “medical grade face masks as a requirement to be worn onboard, surface wipes and hand gel”. 

Business Traveller 4 June 2020, Online

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06/04/20 UK: Eastern Airways restores regional routes

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Regional airports have been offered a lifeline with the planned resumption of flights by Eastern Airways. Routes are being restored from Southampton airport from June 22. The network will include Aberdeen, Belfast City, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, Teesside, and Dublin. Frequency will be increased “as appropriate” in July, August, and September to help restore connections to Southampton. In-flight service will initially be limited to reduce customer contact. 

Travel Weekly, 4 June 2020, Online 

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06/03/20 Europe: Lufthansa will resume flying to more cities but with fewer flights

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The airlines strategy has been mapped out to what it thinks is the best route to recovery. The strategy is a combination of rapidly getting its network back up and running, while at the same time reducing its fleet.  By September, the airline expects to operate 40% of regular capacity, but serve 70% of its planned intercontinental destinations, and 90% of continental destinations. There is said to be 300 fewer planes flying in 2021. 

Skift, 3 June 2020, Online 

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06/02/20 Europe: Harmonized measures in Europe

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The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidelines are aligned with recommendations provided for both the airline and airport sector. It is a layered approach of temporary measures to protect public health while allowing viable air services to help drive the European economic recovery. Some of the guidelines include physical distancing at airports should be maintained, the wearing of masks at all times in airport and on board and enhanced cleaning procedures in both the airport and aircraft are recommended.  

Airlines IATA, 2 June 2020, Online 

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06/03/20 Europe: easyJet to operate 75% of routes by August

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easyJet says it plans to operate 50% of its routes in July, increasing to 75% in August. However, flight frequencies will equate to only 30% of easyJet’s normal July to August capacity. The airline says it will fly from all of its UK bases in July and August to a range of domestic, city, and beach destinations. 

Business Traveller, 3 June 2020, Online 

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06/03/20 UK: London City Airport to be operational by the end of June

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London City Airport announced it intends to reopen by the end of the month (June). The airport has been closed since March 25 due to a massive drop in demand as the primary demographic is business passengers. The reopening of London City will come with some new rules attached. The airport is asking passengers to observe social distancing and every passenger will have their temperature taken on arrival and departure from the airport.  

Simple Flying, 3 June 2020, Online 

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06/02/20 Netherlands: KLM to increase flights to southern Europe holiday hot spots in July

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KLM, the Dutch subsidiary of Air France-KLM, hopes to add a handful of long-haul destinations in July and increase flights to vacation spots in Southern Europe. The airline cut back 90% of its flight service in March after the outbreak of coronavirus. The airline proposed their July flight schedules represent 25-30% of what would be normal for the time of year. They are still negotiating a 2-4 billion euro bailout package from Dutch government. 

Reuters, 2 June 2020, Online 

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06/02/20 Europe: Italy opens up to encourage holiday bookings

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British visitors will be able to visit Italy with no quarantine restrictions from Wednesday, however the foreign office first needs to lift its overseas travel ban. The aim of the Italian Tourist Board is to encourage bookings to the country now that lockdown restrictions are being relaxed. Theatres, concert halls, cinemas and other outdoor spaces will open in Italy on June 15, following resorts, bars, restaurants and ice cream shops. 

Travel Weekly, 2 June 2020, Online 

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06/02/20 Europe: Flying in Europe this June

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The first thing to know before flying is which countries are allowing tourists. Germany, Austria, Iceland, Portugal, and Greece all plan to open their borders to EU nationals on June 15. Italy is set to open its borders June 3, while Spain will do so from July 1 onwards. The lifting of border restrictions will be a huge boost to the European tourism industry.  

Simple Flying, 2 June 2020, Online 

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06/01/20 UK: Hays Travel to push ahead with ex-Thomas Cook shop openings

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Hays Travel became the UK’s largest retailer when they acquired the leases for the entire Thomas Cook rail network. Hays Travel has “no plans to stop or stall” its schedule of opening former Thomas Cook shops in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact the pandemic has created means Hays will be renegotiating rents on the premises and taking up an extension on the date by which it could walk away from some leases without incurring costs. 

Travel Weekly, 1 June 2020, Online 

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06/01/20 Luxembourg: Inbound passengers to receive free COVID-19 test in Luxembourg

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After reopening on May 29, Luxembourg Findel Airport (LUX) is offering arriving passengers the chance to get tested for coronavirus for free. Passengers can get tested at the airport or any COVID-19 testing center in the country. The project is a joint venture between the airport and the government. It is expected to last one month but it could be extended depending upon the circumstances. Iceland will also be testing passengers arriving at Keflavík International Airport (KEF) from around June 15.  

Simple Flying, 1 June 2020, Online 

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05/29/20 Europe: European carriers take tentative steps to restoring networks

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Several European Operators have announced restoring their networks, which include the resumption of services by Lufthansa Group operators Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines in June. Other group carriers Air Dolomiti, Edelweiss, Eurowings and Swiss are also adding capacity in June. Iberia, which is  operating minimum services is gradually resuming its short and medium-haul flight programme from the start of July. Greek carrier Aegean Airlines will, from 15 June, restart flights from Thessaloniki to four German cities as well as Larnaca in Cyprus. 

Flight Global, 28 May, Online 

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05/28/20 Austria: Austrian Airlines will relaunch in mid-June

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Austrian Airlines has announced that it will return to the skies from June 15th, 2020. They plan to fly to almost 40 destinations by the end of June. The first scheduled flights since March will operate to Brussels, London and Paris. The airlines focus will be using smaller aircraft initially. Austrian will require passengers to bring their face covering and wear it at all times in Vienna airport and on-board flights.  

Simple Flying, 28 May, Online 

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05/26/20 Europe: Air France-KLM could operate trains on domestic routes

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In attempt to reduce its environmental footprint, Air France-KLM group is looking at introducing trains instead of planes on short-haul routes across Europe. The group already works with France’s national rail service so passengers can use air miles on TGV train journeys. TGV trains are considerably more environmentally friendly than shout-haul flights. Part of the reason for the sudden change is government-mandated conditions for state aid. 

Simple Flying, May 26 2020, Online 

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05/26/20 Spain: Spain produces guidelines for 'safe reopening' of tourism

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The Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism has published 12 guides detailing the specifications for the ‘safe reopening’ of Spain’s tourism industry and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. It includes specifications for service, cleaning and disinfection, maintenance and risk management and are designed to instruct the sector to restart its activity with ‘maximum safety’ and boost the confidence of travelers. Guides have been published with instructions and recommendations for hotels and tourist apartments, restaurants, travel agencies, golf courses, rural accommodation, spas, museums, tourist guides, information offices, hostels, camping sites, and active tourism. 

Travel Weekly, May 26 2020, Online 

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05/21/20 UK: Jet 2 owner bolsters finances with £170m share placing

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Dart Group has raised more than £170 million through a share placing. The proceeds add to £300 million secured by the company in a government COVID-19 loan and £100 million credit facility. The shares being issued represent 20% of the existing share capital of the group. 

Travel Weekly, May 21 2020, Online 

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05/21/20 Europe: easyJet to resume domestic UK and French services in June

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easyJet says it will resume a limited number of flights from June 15. They said that “The initial schedule will comprise mainly domestic flying in the UK and France”. The flights will restart from routes where there is believed to be a sufficient customer demand to support profitable flying. The airline has published health and hygiene measures which are being implemented “in consultation with aviation authorities ICAO and EASA, and inline with government and medical advice”. 

Business Traveller, May 21 2020, Online 

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05/20/20 Czech Republic: Czech Smartwings wants aid without giving government a stake

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Smartwings announced this week that it does not want to be taken over by Czech Republic as a way of being supported through the COVID-19 crisis. Smartwings wants state-backed guarantees to help cover its losses resulting from a full fleet grounding that lasted a month and a half. It is looking increasingly likely that the Czech government will indeed provide support for Smartwings without acquiring a stake in it. 

Simple Flying, May 20 2020, Online 

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05/20/20 France: Air France to retire its entire A380 fleet

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Air France says it will “phase out its entire A380 fleet”. The aircraft, currently in storage, will not return to scheduled (Air France) service. Air France wants to simplify its fleet to operate only modern A350s/B787s over long distance routes. Not stated by Air France, but another reason is the hefty refurbishment cost it would have incurred had it retained a few A380s. 

Business Traveller, May 20, 2020 Online 

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05/20/20 UK: Airlines oppose government quarantine restrictions

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The airline trade body believes a combination of passenger temperature checks and contact tracing means there is no need for arriving travelers to be placed in quarantine. The stance places airlines in direct conflict with UK government plans for 14-day isolation period for most arrivals in the country from next month. IATA Director General and Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac said: “There is no single measure that will reduce risk and enable a safe re-start of flying.” “But layering measures that are globally implemented and mutually recognized by governments can achieve the needed outcome”. 

Travel Weekly, May 20 2020, Online 

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05/19/20 France: Air France to increase flights in June

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At present the airline is serving just 43 destinations (3 to 5 per cent) of its usual schedule, mostly maintaining a Skelton service to the French regions and links with key destinations in Europe and Worldwide. The airline says it intends to gradually resume its flights. The flight schedule will be equivalent to 15 per cent of the capacities usually deployed at this time of year. The increases are subject to travel restrictions being lifted.  

Business Traveller, May 19, Online 

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05/19/20 Germany: Lufthansa Group adapts flexible rebooking due to 'exceptional circumstances'

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Lufthansa Group airlines have now extended their period for passengers rebooking tickets for cancelled flights to December 31 next year. Originally Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti had required travel to be taken by April 30, 2021. The rebooking will be at no additional cost. The new trip must consist of the same route and class. 

Travel Weekly, May 19, Online 

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05/18/20 UK: Ryanair accepts $730 million UK government backed loan

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Ryanair has received £600m (about $730 million) from the United Kingdom’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility. The loan is supporting Ryanair’s cash balance. The funding will give the airline some additional support as it has a major presence in Stansted. The airlines current focus is to preserve its liquidity. Through June, the airline expects to operate less than 1% of its regularly scheduled flights. Some flights will return from this July, although this may change depending on the situation in various countries.  

Simple Flying, May 18, Online 

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05/18/20 Spain: Spain aims to reopen border in June

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Tourism-dependent Spain aims to reopen its borders around the end of June a minister said. The two-week quarantine on all overseas travellers is meant to be temporary and it would be phased out in parallel with travel being allowed within Spain. Tourism accounts for over 12% of Spain’s economic output. People must now wear masks in closed spaces and on public transport. Restaurants and bars are gradually opening. 

Reuters, May 18, Online 

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05/18/20 Europe: Eurowings has added a further 40 destinations for June

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The airline said the significant expansion will open up a range of “sunshine” destinations across Europe. It is expanding the planned number of flight connections from Germany to Majorca, Greece and Croatia and domestic routes on the back of demand. Destinations to be added in June include Fuerteventura, Kos and Rhodes from Düsseldorf; Larnaca, Tunis and Calvi from Cologne/Bonn; Faro, Ibiza and Split from Hamburg; and Naples and Vienna from Stuttgart. The airline said it was doubling its fleet to up to 20 Airbus aircraft by the end of June. 

Travel Weekly, May 18, Online

05/15/20 Iceland: Iceland's Play has financial backers lined up

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Icelandic low-cost startup PLAY has secured the backing of powerful financial supporters. The CEO and Chairman say the airline is ready to seize any market opportunity that opens up. The coronavirus crisis has prevented the eagerly anticipated launch of new low-cost carrier in Iceland. The airline is ready to step in should Icelandair fail. The damage done to the market could possibly prove to be an opportunity for PLAY and a kick-start for a successful business.

Simple Flying, 15 May 2020, Online

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05/15/20 Germany: Lufthansa airlines reinstate UK and Ireland flights

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Lufthansa Group airlines is to reinstate 40 weekly flights from the UK and Ireland from June 1. Departures from Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Dublin to points in Germany will provide onward connections, with bookings available from May 15. The airline plans to run around 1,800 weekly round trips to more than 130 destinations by the end of June.

Travel Weekly, 15 May 2020, Online

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05/14/20 France: France launches $19 billion bailout for ravaged tourism sector

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France announced measures worth 18 billion euros to support its tourism sector. The bailout in France aims to salvage a variety of hospitality sectors as well as activities that make up the French identity. Tourism accounts for almost 8% of the country’s 2.3 trillion-euro economy. The prime minister said that with 95% of hotels closed, the government’s priority was to avoid bankruptcies and job cuts.

Skift, 14 May 2020, Online

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05/14/20 UK: Jet2holidays parent secures £300m commercial loan

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Jet2holidays parent company Dart Group Plc has secured a £300 million loan from Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). The commercial loan is in addition to an existing £100 million credit facility that Dart Group Plc has already drawn down and is funded by the government. The company said the CCFF will be used to provide “standby liquidity, should that be required”.

Travel Weekly, 14 May, 2020 Online

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05/14/20 Europe: Iceland and the Algarve 'ready for summer tourism'

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Iceland, which has detected three COVID-19 cases in May, has indicated that the country will lift the 14-day quarantine rule on arrivals at Keflavik International Airport from June 15. Their prime minister said tourists will be screened at the airport and asked to download a tracing app, then they will be allowed on their way. In Portugal, Algarve said it is ‘open for tourists this summer’, once travel restrictions are lifted. At Faro International airport visitors will get temperature checks on arrival, have hand sanitizer points, insist on the use of face masks, and impose social distancing measures with plastic screens. 

Travel Weekly, 14 May 2020, Online 

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05/14/20 UK: Leeds Bradford airport puts forward revised new terminal plan

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The plans propose the construction of a three floor, 34,000 sq. mt. replacement terminal of an alternative site within the airport’s boundary. If approved by Leeds City Council, the replacement terminal could be completed by 2023 if work starts by the end of the year. The airport estimates the development would support 12,650 permanent jobs across the region, as well as creating 850 construction-related jobs while being built.  

Travel Weekly, 14 May 2020, Online 

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05/14/20 Europe: Brussels issues guidance on 'rebooting' post-pandemic European tourism

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The recommendations are designed to help countries gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to re-open, while respecting health precautions. The package supports businesses and ensures that Europe continues to be the “number one destination” for visitors. They are proposing an approach to managing what will remain a difficult 2020 summer season, while preparing for a more sustainable and digital tourism eco-system in the future. 

Travel Weekly, 14 May 2020, Online 

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05/13/20 Europe: Tui Group to 'right-size' airlines as cuts affect 8,000 staff
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Tui Group is aiming to cut or avoid recruiting around 8,000 personnel as it looks to overhaul its global activities in response to the coronavirus crisis. It is intending to “permanently reduce” its overhead cost base across the group by 30%. It had successful start to the financial year, but the crisis has affected the company’s performance in the half-year to 31 March. Tui Group adds that it is continuing to evaluate a “variety of options” in order to best position its balance sheet and liquidity throughout the disruption and beyond. 

Flight Global, 13 May 2020, Online 

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05/13/20 Belgium: Brussels Airlines to reduce fleet size by 30 per cent

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The Lufthansa Group carrier said it would downsize the company, and consequentially its workforce – by 25 per cent. As part of its restructuring the airline will cut its fleet by 16 aircraft (from 54 to 38 planes), a total reduction of 30 per cent. Brussels Airlines announced these are “substantial and indispensable measures to ensure its survival and create a sustainable future for the company”. 

Business Traveller, 13 May 2020, Online 

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05/12/20 Finland: Finnair takes steps to reduce Covid-19 risks whilst flying

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Finnair have updated their website to reflect recent changes made to its health and safety policies. This includes plexiglass guards put up between airport staff and passengers at check-in, as well as the distribution of cleaning wipes onboard. There is the requirement for all travelers to wear face masks on the plane. Anyone that is strongly suspected of having the coronavirus will have a toilet reserved for them. These policies would not be practical on a full or near-full flight. 

Simple Flying, 12 May 2020, Online 

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05/12/20 UK: Virgin Atlantic releases 're-shaped' summer 2021 schedule

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Virgin Atlantic has expressed confidence in its future by releasing a flying program for summer 2021 to 24 destinations. There are no flights from Gatwick, with the majority of Virgin’s operations being operated out of Heathrow, Manchester, Glasgow, and Belfast airports. Services to Orlando and the Caribbean will switch to Heathrow from their traditional Gatwick base with the start of next year’s summer flying on March 28. They said they have taken the opportunity to pause, reflect, and re-shape their 2021 flying program.  

Travel Weekly, 12 May 2020, Online 

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05/12/20 Spain: Spain to quarantine international arrivals from 15 May

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Spain’s government has decreed that all visitors entering from abroad must go into quarantine for 14 days from May 15. It will remain in place until Spain’s state of emergency period comes to an end on May 24, although the government warns that the restrictions could be extended beyond that. The nation’s ministry of health discloses all international arrivals must remain in their chosen accommodation for two weeks and will only be allowed to leave for essential shopping or to access healthcare services. This could affect airlines attempts to restart Spanish summer holiday flights. 

Flight Global, 12 May 2020, Online 

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05/12/20 Europe: Ryanair to resume almost half of flights from July 1

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Ryanair plans to restore 40% of its normal flying schedule of almost 1,000 flights a day from July 1 in a bid to save the summer tourist season across Europe. The resumption of flights is conditional on government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted and effective public health measures being put in place at airports. Ryanair hopes to re-start flying from most of its 80 bases across Europe in July with fares starting at €19.99 one-way.

Travel Weekly, 12 May, Online

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05/11/20 Europe: Slovenia to lift International air transport ban

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Slovenia’s government is lifting restrictions on passenger air transport in the country after imposing a comprehensive ban in the wake of the coronavirus. It will “withdraw the measures” on 12 May. It says the decree prohibited international air transport of passengers from all countries to Slovenia, including within the European Union. There are measures being introduced to protect public health.

Flight Global, 11 May, Online

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05/07/20 UK: Current crisis could set back third Heathrow runway by 10 years

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The airport has said all expansion plans could be deferred for two years because of the pandemic. The reality now is that Heathrow’s third runway could not be needed until 2030 or beyond. Heathrow is pushing back plans to expand as there is other things to focus on. The focus is protecting jobs and the business. The news has led climate protestors to challenge whether the development is needed at all.

Simple Flying, 07 May 2020, Online

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05/06/20 Poland: Poland launches social media campaign to inspire future travel

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Poland: Poland launches social media campaign to inspire future travel

The polish tourist board has launched a social media campaign to inspire consumers to consider visiting the country when lockdown restrictions are lifted. The campaign encourages people to share their “travel desires” and social life under lockdown. The tourist board are offering suggestions and recommendations of places to visit. The Brighter Group has been appointed to conduct the digital campaign.

Travel Weekly, 06 May 2020, Online

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05/06/20 Portugal: Portugal to host new summit for global tourism leaders

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Amid the worldwide crisis for the travel sector, plans have been announced for a new industry leaders’ global summit. ‘A World For Travel Evora Forum’ aims to bring tourism industry leaders, national and regional politicians, regulators, and key non-governmental stakeholders together in Portugal for the two-day event in November. Plans on the forum were being worked on before the Covid-19 crisis, but organizers say the pandemic’s impact on travel makes it even more vital for decision makers to debate. Discussed will be the key issues facing tourism and how the sector must change to ensure it has a sustainable future.

Travel Weekly, 06 May 2020, Online

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05/06/20 UK: Heathrow trials aim to set common standard for bio-screening

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London Heathrow airport’s operator is looking to assist with establishing a common international standard for health screening, by testing technology intended to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. It is to explore options such as ultra-violet sanitation, which could be applied to security trays, plus contactless security procedures and equipment, as well as thermal screening combined with facial-recognition technology to assesses passengers’ temperature. The operator says the data from the trials will be shared with a view to “jump-starting” the creation of common international standards for health screening.

Flight Global, 06 May 2020, Online

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05/05/20 UK: Virgin Atlantic to cut 3,000 jobs and quit Gatwick

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The airline currently employs a total of about 10,000 people. Whilst they are in the process of applying for emergency loans from the government, jobs are said to be lost. Virgin Atlantic said it will move its flying programme from Gatwick to Heathrow. The airline has flown from the airport since 1984, Gatwick said Virgin Atlantic will always be welcome and they will continue with their efforts to explore ways to restart the airline’s operations. Virgin Atlantic also plans to reduce the size of its fleet of aircraft from 45 to 35 by the summer of 2022.

BBC News, 05 May 2020, Online

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05/05/20 Europe: easyJet has brought forward the on-sale date of selected 2021 flights

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The schedule now available covers departures from April 9 to May 4 2021 with fares leading in at £14.99 one-way. More than five million seats are available on at least 28,000 flights. Customers can now change the dates of their upcoming flights to any time up to May 4 next year. The change fee waiver applies to both existing and new bookings until further notice.

Travel Weekly, 05 May 2020, Online

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05/05/20 Germany: Passengers encouraged by Eurowings to 'shape future of travel'

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German budget carrier Eurowings is calling on travelers to suggest changes to shape the future of post-coronavirus travel. The carrier wants to “redesign the future of travel” together with its customers. New ideas including new products and services on board, changed ground processes at airport check-in, and innovative online services in the customer app are all welcome and will be examined by Eurowings. The airline is looking for ideas to be submitted online by Wednesday (May 13). 

Travel Weekly, 5 May 2020, Online 

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05/05/20 Europe: Wizz air adds summer sun routes from June

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Wizz Air is introducing a limited number of summer sun routes from Luton airport as it launches a “new era of sanitized travel”. The low-cost carrier’s UK subsidiary is planning flights to Corfu, Heraklion, Rhodes, Zakynthos, and Faro from June. Passengers and cabin crew will be required to wear facemasks while sanitizing wipes will be handed out. Fares lead-in at £25.99 one-way. 

Travel Weekly, 5 May 2020, Online 

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05/05/20 Europe: European Commission approved €7bn Air France-KLM Covid-19 bailout

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The European Commission approved the French government financial support for the carrier under EU state aid rules. The carrier is also seeking an aid package of between €2 billion and €4 billion from the Dutch government. The Commission found that Air France would likely face the risk of bankruptcy due to the sudden erosion of its business in the absence of the public support. 

Travel Weekly, 5 May 2020, Online 

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05/04/20 Switzerland: Swiss government offers funds to support aviation sector

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The Swiss government will provide CHF1.9 bn to the domestic aviation sector to bridge liquidity shortfalls as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Some CHF1.275 bn will go directly for the two airlines, Swiss and Edelweiss, while up to CHF600 million will be allocated to other companies vital to the functioning of the sector. The Swiss parliament still needs to sign off on the package. 

Breaking Travel News, 4 May 2020, Online  

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05/03/20 UK: Manchester, Stansted, and East Midlands airports to insist travelers wear face masks

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Manchester, Stansted, and East Midlands airports will ask all staff and passengers to wear gloves and cover their faces. Temperature scanners will also be in use as part of a trial to screen those moving through the airport, while passengers could also be asked to make a health declaration before entering terminals. The government is yet to set out a framework for UK airports to adhere to. 

Travel Weekly, 3 May 2020, Online 

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05/01/20 Europe: Ryanair to cut 3,000 jobs with warning of two-year Covid-19 recovery

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Ryanair is to notify trade unions about its restructuring and job loss programme which will commence from July 2020. The plans will be subject to consultation but will affect all Ryanair airlines and may result in the loss of up to 3,000 mainly pilot and cabin crew jobs, unpaid leave and pay cuts up to 20%. These effects will also be extended to head office and back office teams. Ryanair expects some flights to resume from July after scheduling less than 1% of services in three months to June due to European flight restrictions. Ryanair expects to carry less than 100 million passengers in the financial year to March 2021, more than 35% below its original 154 million target.  

Travel Weekly, 1 May, Online 

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05/01/20 UK: Heathrow expects passenger traffic to fall by 97 per cent in April

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Heathrow has announced its quarterly results and says passenger traffic is expected to be down by 97 per cent in April. The airport expects demand “to remain weak until governments around the world deem it safe to lift travel restriction”. They say it has cut costs by around 30 per cent, through cutting management pay, renegotiating all contracts and consolidating operations. 

Business Traveller, 1 May, Online  

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05/01/20 Iceland: Icelandair Group seeks $200m through new shares
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Icelandair Group is planning to issue up 30 billon new shares to support its financial position, with the aim of raising up to $200 million in equity. It intends to offer the new shares in June. Once it has secured approval it will disclose the price of the issue. At the current stock price of IcKr2.37, the figure of $200m equates to 12.2 billion shares. They will open it up to the public and other investors through a waiver of the pre-emptive rights of current shareholders. 

Flight Global, 1 May, Online 

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05/01/20 Europe: Jet2holidays postpones 2020 travel agent conference

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Jet2holidays has postponed its annual conference for independent travel agents. The 2020 event would have been the sixth time the operator put on an overseas conference for travel agent partners. Alan Cross said the conference would be an unnecessary and unwelcome distraction at this time. They will announce the 2021 Jet2holidays VIP conference at a suitable time when all parties can enjoy it. 

Travel Weekly, 1 May, Online 

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04/30/20 Greece: Greece plans new rules for tourists this summer

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Social distancing on beaches and resorts can be expected as Greece hopes to attract British holidaymakers this summer once coronavirus lockdown measures are relaxed. Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis confirmed that he wanted visitors to return to the country, which relies heavily on tourism. He says they will take very important precautions but will do so while still allowing the economic activities. 

Travel Weekly, 30 April 2020, Online 

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04/30/20 Switzerland: SWISS to receive $1.31 billion in government backed loans

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Switzerland have guaranteed $1.31 billion in state-backed loans to its two domestic subsidiaries, SWISS and Edelweiss to help them through the liquidity crisis caused by Covid-19. The government estimated that the liquidity needs of SWISS and Edelweiss would total $1.54 billion up to the end of 2020. Funds are only to be used for SWISS infrastructure, with no outflows to the parent companies located abroad. Future earnings by both subsidiaries should be prioritized to repay the aid received and other payments will be forbidden until that is done. 

Simple Flying, 30 April 2020, Online 

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04/30/20 UK: Virgin Atlantic plans 90 cargo flights in May

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Virgin Atlantic plan to run more than 90 cargo-only flights a week in May after collapse of passengers demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. Services will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which can carry up to 55 tonnes of cargo. Virgin Atlantic partnered with the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS to run nine cargo-only flights from Shanghai to Heathrow in April, bringing 150 tonnes of medical equipment, supplies and PPE. 

Travel Weekly, 30 April 2020, Online 

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04/30/20 France: French government sets green conditions for Air France bailout

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Air France must slash domestic flights and agree to work towards becoming the world’s “most environmentally friendly” airline, if it is to satisfy the conditions of its government bailout. The French government wants Air France to halve its overall carbon-dioxide emissions per passenger-kilometre by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The French government is also calling on Air France to renew its fleet with more efficient aircraft, and to commit to sourcing 2% of its fuel requirements from sustainable sources by 2025. 

Flight Global, 30 April 2020, Online 

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04/29/20 Europe: Lufthansa 'seeking bankruptcy protection' amid Covid-19 crisis

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Lufthansa, like all international carriers has been forced to ground nearly all its flights due to coronavirus. The airline faces a cash crunch within weeks after suffering a first quarter loss of €1.2 billion. Lufthansa is reported to be considering bankruptcy protection as it seeks at least €9 billion in state aid. The scheme would allow three months for financial restructure. 

Travel Weekly, 29 April, Online 

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04/29/20 Europe: Tui extends suspension of holidays

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Tui  has extended the suspension of its holidays and cruises. All package holidays have been cancelled up to June 11. All cruises under its brand Marella Cruises have been cancelled up to June 30 and all Tui River Cruises have been cancelled up to November 25. All holidays beyond those dates will go ahead as planned but will be “continuously reviewed”. Refunds for cancelled bookings will be processed in date order and normal cancellation terms and conditions apply for holidays booked beyond the stated dates. 

Travel Weekly, 29 April, Online 

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04/28/20 Norway: Norwegian Air may need extra funds even with state aid

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Norwegian Air’s ability to survive the coronavirus crisis is reliant on efforts to restructure its debt and secure state aid. The airline has grounded 95% of its fleet and furloughed 7,650 staff. They want aircraft lessors and bond investors to swap their debt for equity. Norwegian Air plans to focus on cash preservation and to go into hibernation over the winter low season, with their operations not going back to normal until 2022. The carrier warned even if they can restructure its debt it is expected the group will have a significant amount of debt.  

Travel Weekly, 28 April 2020, Online 

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04/28/20 Europe: Tourism set for slice of EU coronavirus recovery fund

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Tourism will receive up to a quarter of an EU coronavirus recovery fund. It will target the hardest hit sectors and geographical parts of Europe. Ministers have voiced strong support for national and EU measures for the “swift and effective” recovery of the tourism sector. Even though the figures have not been disclosed, it is estimated that a total budget of between €1 trillion - €1.5 trillion will be needed. Ministers highlighted the importance of a harmonized solution for refunding travel packages, including vouchers and promoting best practices throughout the EU. 

Travel Weekly, 28 April 2020, Online 

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04/28/20 UK: British Airways staff could face redundancy

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British Airways could make up to 12,000 of its staff redundant as a result of the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The carrier said it had informed staff, the government and trade unions of its intentions to carry out a period of consultation with plans to restructure the business. The chief executive Alex Cruz said the airline needed to act “act decisively” to ensure the future of the brand. He described the current crisis as something the airline needed to overcome itself, with “no government bailout standing by for BA”. 

Travel Weekly, 28 April, Online 

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04/27/20 UK: Airlines urge Chancellor to extend job support scheme beyond June

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Aviation industry body Airlines UK said airlines hit by the coronavirus would face a “a renewed cash crisis” if the scheme were withdrawn prematurely. Many airlines have been struggling as revenues have dropped amid travel bans. Airlines UK said when travel restrictions are eased, the return of normality for international aviation would be “gradual rather than sudden”. Many in the airline industry believe it could take up to three years to get back on track. Some MPs have said in a letter to Mr Sunak that any support package offered to airlines and travel companies should come with stringent environmental conditions.  

BBC News, 27 April 2020, Online  

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04/27/20 Europe: Intercontinental Hotels Group tap to government Covid-19 financial aid

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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has been confirmed as being eligible to access the government’s Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility. This has enabled the hospitality giant to access £600 million of financial support amid the closure of hotels worldwide. IHG said it now had access to $1.65 billion of cash on deposit and $660 million of bank facilities to take available liquidity to $2 billion. 

Travel Weekly, 27 April 2020, Online 

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04/27/20 Europe: Tui hotels distribute food aid for coronavirus workers

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More than 25 tonnes of food have been distributed by Tui Group hotels and resorts to welfare organizations in holiday destinations around the world. RIU has donated 22 tonnes of fresh food to social and medical institutions in Spain. 40,000 gloves, 25,000 masks, and 5,000 litres of disinfectant and cleaning agents were provided to combat the spread of the virus.  

Travel Weekly, 27 April 2020, Online 

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04/25/20 UK: Wizz Air confirms it will resume selected flights out of Luton from May 1

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Wizz Air is to reintroduce selected flights out of Luton on May 1 along with extra hygiene measures to ensure the health and safety of customers and crew. The airline says the move to introduce flying will be supported by physical distancing methods during boarding in line with government regulations, and enhanced cleanliness on board. Customers will be told to check-in online. During the flight crew will be required to wear masks and gloves and sanitizing wipes will be distributed to each passenger. 

Travel Weekly, 25 April 2020, Online  

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04/25/20 Europe: Billions in state aid agreed to prop up Air France-KLM

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The French and Dutch governments have agreed to provide at least €9 billion in state aid to Air France-KLM. A loan and guarantee totaling €7 billion has been pledged by the French state, with its Dutch counterpart agreeing to an aid package of between €2 billion and €4 billion. Air France-KLM said the financial support would enable them “to meet its obligations by continuing its transformation”. 

Travel Weekly, 25 April 2020, Online 

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04/26/20 Europe: Germany wants common approach to reopening tourism

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The German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, says that Europe needs a common approach to avoid an infection cluster. Maas says that Europe needs to agree on common criteria to return to freedom of travel.  

Reuters, 26 April 2020, Online 

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04/24/20 Germany: Lufthansa faces cash crunch "within weeks"

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Lufthansa Group faces a cash crunch within weeks as it battles to survive the coronavirus crisis. The giant German airline organisation, which includes Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Swiss, is reported to be seeking €10 billion in state aid. March revenues alone fell by 47%. The group expects a higher operating loss in the second quarter compared to the first quarter. The group is in negotiations with the governments of its home countries to hopefully secure solvency in the future. 

Travel Weekly, 24 April 2020, Online           

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04/24/20 Europe: Jet2 to get government Covid financial support

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The owner of Jet2 and Jet2holidays, Dart Group, are seeking if they are eligible for the government’s Covid Corporate Finance Facility. They suspended flying in mid-March due to the extensive travel restrictions. A staff pay cut of up to 30% is being introduced for six months until September 30 and no bonuses will be paid for the past financial year despite a rise in profits. 80% of UK staff are being furloughed under the government job retention scheme with similar schemes in place for staff overseas. The impact and duration of Covid-19 remains difficult to determine but they are taking actions to underpin stability and preserve cash. 

Travel Weekly, 24 April 2020, Online 

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04/24/20 UK: UK to see 140 million fewer airline passengers this year, says IATA

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IATA forecasts that European carriers will suffer losses in revenue totalling $89 billion in 2020, with the UK accounting for $26.1 billion, as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The passenger demand is projected to be down 55% on 2019 levels, with the UK seeing 140 million fewer passengers in 2020. Across Europe as a whole, the 90 per cent collapse in air traffic puts around 6.7 million jobs at risk. Also, IATA’s CEO says with the introduction of social distancing on aircraft this will mean the end of the cheap travel.  

Business Traveller, 24 April 2020, Online 

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04/24/20 UK: Stranded British tourists to be flown home from Cyprus

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Ten government rescue flights are being laid on to return British holidaymakers stranded in Cyprus. The flights are due to run between April 25-30. The flights are being operated by Aegean Airlines from Larnaca to Heathrow, Manchester, and Edinburgh. 

Travel Weekly, 24 April 2020, Online 

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04/23/20 Europe: P&O Cruises and Cunard extend cancellations until July 31

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P&O Cruises and Cunard are extending the suspension of operations for the third time. All sailings are now cancelled up until July 31 as a result of the continued impact of COVID-19. Cunard have dropped its entire Alaska summer season by the ship Queen Elizabeth until September 8. Passengers who have a booking up to and including July 31 this year will receive a 125% cruise credit for sailings until March 2022 based on bookings to be made before the end of December 2021. 

Travel Weekly, 23 April 2020, Online 

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04/23/20 Europe: Austrian Airlines yet to apply for Government Aid

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Austrian Airlines have yet to seek vital funding and are still negotiating its package. The Lufthansa Group, to whom Austrian Airlines belongs, is in discussions with the Austrian government to secure a bailout deal. Environmental organizations and ministers have been encouraging future airline bailout to include environmental limitations. This could be the reason why the government is still deliberating Austrian Airlines’ bailout package. A general decline in human activity worldwide has seen many benefits to the planet such as emission levels dropping, therefore by encouraging airlines to think about the environment is important. 

Simple Flying, 23 April 2020, Online 

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04/23/20 UK: Thousands of UK jobs threatened by extended cruise industry shutdown

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More than 5,500 UK jobs could be at risk as the result of an extended shutdown of the cruise industry due to coronavirus crisis. Up to 530 jobs can be lost for every 1% drop in cruising in the UK. Each day cruises are suspended results in the loss of 55 direct jobs and 139 total positions in the UK.  

Travel Weekly, 23 April 2020, Online  

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04/23/20 UK: easyJet donates 35,000 in-flight snacks to charities

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More than 35,000 surplus items of stock from easyJet’s in-flight retail range have been donated to charities nationwide. These include 1,500 products from the airline’s base at Luton airport to support the HelpNHSHeroes campaign, which is a campaign to provide NHS workers with access to food for family meals at their place of work. The products which would normally be sold on board flights will be bundled together and given as care packages for NHS workers. 

Travel Weekly, 23 April 2020, Online 

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04/23/20 Europe: Accor shuts two-thirds of hotels amid Covid-19 crisis

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The French hospitality giant has now closed 62%, or more than 3,100 hotels. Most of properties in the UK have been shut since March 25. Accor has a “robust balance sheet” despite reporting a 17% drop in first quarter revenues amid the Covid-19 crisis. The chairman and chief executive Sebastien Bazin says the group is in a strong position and they are taking measures to adapt their organization. 

Travel Weekly, 23 April 2020, Online 

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04/22/20 UK: UK airlines and travel firms denying refunds

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Up to £7bn is owed for trips cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis but operators fear bankruptcy if they pay out. 20 of the UK’s biggest travel operators, including TUI, are not offering full refunds within the legal limit of 14 days. Almost all airlines are failing to refund passengers on time. Most providers have offered vouchers or credit notes and some customers have complained they have been unable to obtain refunds online or get through to make a claim on the phone. Industry bodies such as IATA and ABTA say firms would be bankrupted by repaying now as they are receiving no booking revenue.  

The Guardian, 22 April 2020, Online 

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04/22/20 Europe: Austrian to halve 767 fleet

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Lufthansa Group carrier Austrian Airlines is to halve its Boeing 767 fleet and withdraw all seven of its Airbus A319s as part of a strategy to adjust to reduced demand in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The airline has revised its strategy following the coronavirus outbreak and envisions a more conservative fleet of 60, amounting to an overall capacity reduction of 20%. 

Flight Global, 22 April 2020, Online 

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04/22/20 Europe: easyJet targets Easter 2021 with early release of seats

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easyJet flights for Easter 2021 have been made available after the airline brought forward the on-sale date by five months. The early release covers the period including the school holidays between March 28 - April 18. The airline has scheduled 39,000 flights across its network, providing more than 6.7 million seats over the Easter period. Fares lead-in at £14.99 one-way with check-in bags at 99p for bookings made by Friday (April 24). The move follows easyJet holidays issuing early season launches for winter 2020-21 and summer 2021 earlier this month. 

Travel Weekly, 22 April 2020, Online 

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04/21/20 UK: Ryanair passengers given vouchers rather than cash refunds

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Ryanair has cancelled almost all their flights during the coronavirus crisis. Passengers who ask for their money back for a cancelled flight are now told “please see below details of your travel voucher for the full value of your unused booking.” Europe’s biggest budget airline insists passengers on cancelled flights can still get a refund.  

Independent, 21 April 2020, Online 

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04/21/20 Europe: Wizz Air 'eligible' for UK Covid Corporate Financing Facility

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Wizz Air revealed it can tap into the UK government’s Covid-19 business support measures. The largest low-cost airline in central and eastern Europe would join rival easyJet which secured £600 million through the government Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). The CCFF is designed to support liquidity among larger firms, helping them to bridge coronavirus disruption to cash flows through the purchase of a short-term debt. Traffic in March fell by 34% year-on-year while the airline is operating just 3% of its pre-Covid-19 capacity.  

Travel Weekly, 21 April 2020, Online 

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04/20/20 Europe: Fred Olsen cancels cruises beyond May 23

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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines have extended it sailing suspension beyond May 23, but it has not specified a date when operations will resume. Originally the company announced on March 13 that all ocean cruise sailings would be paused until May 23. The managing director does not want to confirm a date as they do not want to set an expectation and not be able to deliver what they promise. They have said they are keeping a close eye on the latest guidance from the relevant authorities.  

Travel Weekly, 22 April 2020, Online 

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04/20/20 Europe: Thousands of Norwegian Air jobs threatened as subsidiary firms declare bankruptcy

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More than 4,000 Norwegian Air pilots and cabin crew face losing their jobs after the coronavirus crisis forced the grounding of all flights. Four firms which employ 1,571 pilots and 3,134 cabin crew in Denmark and Sweden have filed for bankruptcy. Despite the measures the company have taken to reduce costs, the board of these companies are left with no choice but to apply for bankruptcy. The airline’s chief executive Jacob Schram said the impacts the coronavirus is having on the airline industry is unprecedented. 

Travel Weekly, 20 April 2020, Online  

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04/14/20 Europe: Wizz Air cuts one-fifth of personnel but remains upbeat on prospects

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Europe’s Wizz Air is cutting 1,000 employees, nearly one fifth of its staff, after its operations were reduced to a bare minimum due to COVID-19. The SLT of Wizz Air will also take a 22% cut in income for the year with the rest of the staff being reduced by an average of 14%. However, Wizz Air are still optimistic about their new Abu Dhabi venture and expects to return to a 15%-per-year growth after the crisis. 

Flight Global, 14 April 2020, Online 

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04/14/20 Monaco: Monaco launches now tourism campaign

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The tourist board in Monaco is rolling out a new communication campaign to reach out to guests and express “how much they are missed”. However, as many tourists remain in lockdown, they have created a slogan – ‘For You’ – as an invitation and a message to them, reminding them of Monaco with images. The campaign is aimed at both leisure and business tourists.  

Breaking Travel News, 14 April 2020, Online 

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04/15/20 Europe: 14 European governments in favor of allowing airlines to issue vouchers instead of refunds

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EU rules states that when services are cancelled, airlines must provide another flight option or give a refund. However, 14 European countries including France, Italy, and Germany, are wanting a more lenient stance towards passenger right. 

EURACTIV, 15 April 2020, Online 

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04/15/20 Turkey: Turkish Airlines have extended its suspension of international flights

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Turkish Airlines have extended its suspension of international flights until May 20 as the tension over the crisis rises. The decisions were made based in accordance with the Turkish government’s advice. Domestic flights are currently suspended until May 1.  

Business Traveller, 15 April, Online 

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04/15/20 Portugal: Portugal considers nationalizing TAP Portugal

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Portugal’s flag carrier, TAP, may be nationalized after announcements that it has been badly hit by the economic impacts of COVID-19, said Prime Minister Antonio Costa. Currently the state still holds a 50% stake in the company, 45% by private consortium Atlantic Gateway and 5% by the employees of TAP. Last year TAP made a net loss of €106m, but the Prime Minister has said that they “cannot risk losing TAP” 

EURACTIV, 15 April 2020, Online 

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04/16/20 Austria: Austrian further extends flight suspension until mid-May

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Austrian Airlines has announced that it is extending its flight suspension until May 17 but has said that it stands ready for a slow relaunch depending on regulations. Operations were initially intended to resume on May 3 but has been pushed back. Austrian Airlines will continue to operate special flights including to Asia to carry medical supplies. 

Simple Flying, 16 April, Online 

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04/16/20 UK: Heathrow temporarily closes terminals 3&4

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Heathrow has begun closing its terminals 3&4 as part of the airport’s efforts to stay safe. Terminals 2&5 will stay open, with airlines such as Emirates and Cathay Pacific moving their services to terminal 2 and British Airways flights moving to terminal 5.  

Business Traveller, 16 April, Online 

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04/16/20 Germany: Frankfurt Airport traffic falls by 62% as planes are parked

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In March, Frankfurt Airport’s passenger traffic dropped by over 60% due to COVID-19 with most of the airport’s runways are taken over by grounded fleets. Their cargo service is still operating as well as Lufthansa operating its freight fleets to keep providing medical / rescue supplies. 

Simple Flying, 17 April, Online 

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04/17/20 Europe: easyJet to block out middle seats when flights restart

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EasyJet is planning to block out middle seats on all its fights once they restart operations to follow social distancing rules. They currently expect to keep all fleets grounded until at least June but says they will take into account the load factors to ensure they can adhere to the social distancing measures. 

Simple Flying, 17 April, Online 

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04/18/20 UK: Hays Travel bring back more than 2,500 agents during pandemic

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Hays Travel has apologized for providing lower service levels since the coronavirus lockdown. They initially announced it had furloughed most of its staff to safeguard jobs. They are now steadily bringing more than half of their 5,000 staff back to work from home.

Travel Weekly, 18 April 2020, Online

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04/19/20 Europe: Greek tourism sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic

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65% of Greek hoteliers say bankruptcy of their business is either “likely” or “most likely”, according to a study by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels. Greek hoteliers are increasingly worried about their future. Greece made an early decision (relative to other European countries) to take measures aimed at curbing the spread, as far back at February it cancelled all carnival celebrations.

Business Insider, 19 April 2020, Online

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04/13/20 Sweden: Sweden gets airline bailout green light from EU

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The EU Commission approved Sweden’s support scheme on April 11 to bail out Scandinavian Airlines and other carriers. Sweden’s €455m loan package guarantee is open to any airlines that hold a license to operate in Swedish airports as of January 1. The Swedish scheme received a green light due to the fact that the loan guarantees will only be offered until the end of the year and will only last for a total of six years. 

Euractiv, 13 April 2020, Online 

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04/08/20 Europe: TUI cancels beach holidays for five weeks due to pandemic

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UK’s largest travel firm has cancelled its beach holidays for the next 5 weeks, until May 14, and will suspend its Marella cruises sailing until at least June. A spokesperson for TUI said that they are “constantly monitoring the situation and continue to amend in line with travel advice.” The firm is yet to clarify whether consumers would be refunded.

Sky news, 8 April 2020, Online

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04/08/20 Germany: Lufthansa shuts low-cost airlines and says aviation won’t recover for years

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Lufthansa is permanently reducing the size of its fleet by at least 43 aircraft (6% of its fleets) and grounding its budget airline Germanwings. 13 Airbus and five Boeing aircraft will be decommissioned with a further 11 Airbus A320s withdrawn from short-haul operations.  

CNN Business, 8 April 2020, Online 

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04/07/20 Europe: European air navigation fee deferral aims to assist struggling airlines

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Up to €1.1 billion in european air navigation charge payments is being deferred under an agreement intended to assist airlines struggling under the impact of the virus. Eurocontrol data shows that, traffic is falling, in more than 90% (33 out of 43) associated countries in the region. The organisation has said that its members have agreed the deferral as part of a financial package to provide ‘liquidity support.’ 

Flight global, 7 April, Online 

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04/07/20 UK: Jet2 airlines is set to resume schedule in a matter of months

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Jet2 and Jet2 Holidays has said that they have made the decision to recommence their flight and holiday programmes on June 17. This is despite government advice of against all non-essential travel, with no set dates as to when it will be lifted. The airline has also put on more than 60 repatriation flights to bring an additional 10,000 traveller home.  

Telegraph and Argus, 7 April, Online 

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04/06/20 Europe: Data around travel search expects improvements from Q4

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An analysis of flight search and booking data by Sojern highlights how travellers in Europe are searching booking travel for the future. The data implies improved confidence for flights within Europe in Q4 

Sojern, 6 April, Online  

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04/06/20 UK: easyJet founder Stelios warns the airline will run out of cash by August

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Stelios has warned that if an order for 100 new Airbus planes is not cancelled easyJet could run out of cash by August. This warning is part of an open letter to the board from the founder.  

The Independent, 6 April 2020, Online 

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04/02/20 UK: British airways expected to suspend 36,000 staff amid coronavirus crisis

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British airways and Unite Union have reached a broad agreement on talks regarding suspension of employees, in which 80% of BA’s employees will have their jobs suspended. The airline has also struck a separate deal with its 4,500 pilots, who will take two weeks unpaid leave in April and May.

The Guardian, 2 April 2020, Online

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04/02/20 Belgium: Brussels Airlines could be renationalized

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The pandemic has worsened the airline’s financial outlook, now in a state of virtual bankruptcy, and a bailout of nearly €300m may be needed to save the company.

Euractiv, 2 April 2020, Online

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04/03/20 UK: Heathrow switching to single-runway operation

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Heathrow is set to switch to a single-runway operation, starting April 6, following a significant fall in traffic demand. The two parallel runways will alternate each week to mitigate noise impact. Heathrow is to be opened and operate to serve as a “crucial” node for transport of medical supplies. 

Flight Global, 3 April 2020, Online 

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04/01/20 France: France wins EU approval for airline virus aid

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The European Commission will allow France to defer some aeronautical taxes due in December to January 2021. This comes as Air France-KLM group announced in March cost-cutting measures worth more than €200m by cutting 90% of its services. 

Euractiv, 1 April 2020, Online

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04/05/20 Greece: The pandemic is hurting travel, so Greece has begun offering virtual tourism

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Greece has started offering interactive websites to keep their tourism brand and marketing going during this time. Greece’s tourism authorities have worked together with google to create ‘greecefromhome.com’ website, which lets visitors take virtual tours of the different islands, beaches, archeological sites, listen to Greek music, and learn about their food.  

NPR, 5 April 2020, Online 

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04/01/20 UK: Financial help for airlines should come with strict climate conditions

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Former EU climate chief Miguel Arias Canete fears the end of COVID-19 will bring higher carbon emissions and says that the financial help for airlines must come with conditions on their future climate impact. A group of 26 civil society groups in the UK have written to Rishi Sunk demanding “stringent conditions”, as well as demand for higher carbon tax. 

The Guardian, 1 April 2020, Online 

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04/01/20 Germany: Germany ready to nationalize Condor airline

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The German government stands ready to take over Condor as the deal for it to be bought by Polish competitor, LOT, is most likely to fall through due to the current situation. LOT owner, PGL, has requested several deals for the takeover, which the German government considers unacceptable. 

Reuters, 1 April 2020, Online 

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03/31/20 France: EU changes rules to stop COVID-19 ‘Ghost flights’

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The EU announced yesterday that planes would no longer be forced to fly empty during the COVID-19 crisis, as they suspend the ‘use it or lose it’ rule. This will last until October 24 but could be extended if the situation continues.

Connexion France, 31 March 2020, Online

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03/31/20 UK: BA stops all Gatwick flights

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British Airways have suspended all flights to and from Gatwick in the latest contraction of the air service. They are still operating a limited number of flights at Heathrow.

Travel Weekly, 31 March 2020, Online

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03/31/20 Germany: Lufthansa imposes short time working

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Lufthansa has introduced shorter working hours for cabin and ground staff at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs, but is yet to have an agreement with Germany’s pilot union. The agreement will apply to at least 27,000 of the airline’s employees, as they ground majority of its fleets.

Travel Weekly, 31 March 2020, Online

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03/30/20 UK: EasyJet grounds all flights due to the pandemic

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EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of aircrafts. In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, they said they had completed the final rescue flight on Sunday, however, noted that the planes would be made available for additional support should the government request it.

Sky news, 30 March 2020, Online

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03/30/20 UK: EasyJet grounds all flights due to the pandemic

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EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of aircrafts. In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, they said they had completed the final rescue flight on Sunday, however, noted that the planes would be made available for additional support should the government request it.

Sky news, 30 March 2020, Online

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03/29/20 Europe: Airlines resist mounting coronavirus refund claims

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Cash-strapped carriers are seeking to suspend EU rules requiring refunds for cancellations and instead issues vouchers. Airlines are now asking European authorities to waive refund requirements. However, some are adding that “by becoming a voucher holder, consumers end up becoming an unsecured creditor”.

Straits Times, 29 March 2020, Online

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03/28/20 Germany: TUI secures €1.8bn loan from German government

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TUI has secured a bridging loan of €1.8bn from the German government to help with credit during the crisis. TUI has made it clear that the loan is to cushion effects and that the company was ‘healthy’ before the crisis and will return to this afterwards.

BreakingTravelNews 28th March, Online

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03/27/20 UK: ABTA offers six months free membership

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ABTA is set to offer current members six months free membership from July 1st and a reduced rate for 2021.

Travel Weekly, 27 March 2020, Online

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03/27/20 UK: ABTA assures customers that credit notes come with full protection

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In an interview with Travel Weekly, the chief executive of ABTA assured customers that the credit notes agents and operators are offering are financially protected. This was a vital message, he says, in order to protect companies as if the firms are forced to abide by the 14-day EU package travel regulations refund rule, may will simply not be able to keep operating.

Travel Weekly, 27 March 2020, Online

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03/25/20 UK: London city airport to shut due to COVID-19

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All commercial and private flights will be suspended temporarily from 25th March. Representatives for the airport said, “This will begin in the evening on Wednesday 25th March and is expected to last until the end of April”.

BBC, 25 March 2020, Online

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03/24/20 Europe: COVID-19 and European airlines: zero capacity become a reality

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The total European seat capacity is scheduled to be 11.7 million this week compared to 26.8 million a year ago – a year-on-year change of 59%. It is predicted to exceed further in the coming weeks. Italy has been the worst hit in capacity, down by almost 90%, as well as Europe’s other top 20 countries which totals at a cut of 60.8%, a little higher than Europe as a whole.

CAPA, 24 March 2020, Online

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03/24/20 UK: Chancellor indicates airlines should only turn to Government as last resort

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The UK Chancellor has indicated in a letter to airlines that they need to seek funding from elsewhere during this crisis and should only look to the Government as a last resort. It will only look at individual companies on a case-by-case basis and not an industry bail-out.

BBC, 24 March 2020, online

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03/24/20 Greece: Aegean latest airline to ground all international flights

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Aegean has confirmed the temporary suspension of all international flights from Thursday, stating that travel restrictions imposed by Greece, the EU and other states, as well as the newly adapted measures for the restriction of unnecessary movements in the country have made operations impossible. The carrier added the move, which will remain in place until at least April 30th, would ensure the sustainability of its long-term operations. Aegean will still operate repatriation or other emergency flights in cooperation with the general secretariat for civil protection and the ministry of foreign affairs.

Breaking Travel News, 24 March 2020, online

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03/24/20 Europe: Airlines look to renegotiate emission goals

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As European airlines have been hit hard by COVID-19 outbreak they are demanding a reduction in environmental taxes. Environmental activists are fearful that, just as in 2008 financial crisis, the ‘green’ agenda will move to the bottom of the focus pile.

Reuters, 24 March 2020, online

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03/24/20 Norway: Norwegian Air secures initial financing

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Norwegian Air has announced that two Nordic banks have obtained credit committee approval to provide a guarantee for the required 10% for the first tranche of NOK 300 million. Norwegian Air had already secured a guarantee from its government for the remaining 90% providing financial institutions would put forward the rest.

Norwegian, 24 March 2020, online

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03/24/20 UK: Not Just Travel prepares homeworkers for industry bounce-back

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Staff training and motivational sessions have been introduced for homeworkers at Not Just Travel to support them through the coronavirus crisis. The 40-minute daily sessions are part of an initiative by the company to build skills and further educate its 450 home-based travel consultants during the travel lockdown period.

Travel Weekly, 24 March 2020, online

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03/23/20 UK: UnderTheDoormat to offer London properties for free to NHS workers

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British luxury home rental business UnderTheDoormat is offering free accommodation in London for NHS workers as hospitals battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The start-up has teamed up with partner on-demand linen provider and cleaning service LaundryHeap to make homes available near hospitals for key health workers.

Travolution, 23 March 2020, online

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03/23/20 UK: Package holiday refund rules to be suspended

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Those in the UK who sell package holidays will probably already be aware of the change in rules by the EU on Friday allowing for vouchers to be issued in place of refunds but as the news trickles out to the public there may be a further spike in calls regarding forward booking cancellations and policy. The vouchers act like a credit note but currently state that the customer can eventually claim back their money so the aim is to ease customer tension and cash requirements as ATOL fund remains very low following the collapse of Thomas Cook 6 months ago.

The Independent, 23 March 2020, online

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03/23/20 France: France’s daily hotel occupancy falls to as low as 3.3%

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Data from STR shows France’s daily hotel occupancy plummet as cases of COVID-19 rose. Daily occupancy was as high as 65.3% on 26 February but by 17 March this figure dropped to 3.3%.

Hospitality.net, 23 March 2020, online

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