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easyJet Announce Mid-June Return to European Skies
easyJet announced on Thursday that the airline will resume services from 21 airports in the U.K., France, Switzerland, Portugal and Spain on 15 June. The news is another positive sign of the tentative steps airlines are making to return to operations after the shutdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to the grounding of its fleet of 331 aircraft on 30 March the airline, which holds Air Operators Certificates (AOC) in the U.K., Austria and Switzerland was operating flights to and from 159 airports.
In announcing the return of limited operations, easyJet advised that: “Flying will principally be on domestic routes alongside a minimal number of international routes. The airline expects to increase flying as customer demand continues to build and restrictions are relaxed. During the lockdown period, the fleet has been grounded and aircraft have been maintained in a flight-ready condition to enable the airline to resume flights quickly at the right time.”
The majority of the 25 city-pairs commencing on 15 June are U.K. and French domestic services. Perhaps given the current restrictions in place across Europe and the potential for a possible quarantine period being required for travelers into the U.K. the only international service between the countries is a London Gatwick – Nice sector. Geneva, Switzerland, will be linked to Portugal (Porto, Lisbon) and Spain (Barcelona), the only sectors operating from those countries.
CEO Johan Lundgren added: “The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew remains our highest priority which is why we are implementing a number of measures enhancing safety at each part of the journey from disinfecting the aircraft to requiring customers and crew to wear masks. These measures will remain in place for as long as is needed to ensure customers and crew are able to fly safely as the world continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.” easyJet has created a video to inform passengers of what to expect with regard to the new measures when they travel from 15 June.
The measures adopted by easyJet are in consultation with regulatory bodies ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) and EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and ‘in line with relevant national authorities and medical advice through the airline’s chief medical adviser.’ The implementation of a consistent range of precautions across the aviation industry to deal with the pandemic is paramount to stimulate demand by instilling confidence in passengers.
Given the fluidity of the Covid-19 situation and the variance in travel restrictions in place across Europe, easyJet’s strategy is one that has required careful planning and preparation. With regard to next steps for the airline, Mr Lundgren said that the airline “will continue to closely monitor the situation across Europe so that when more restrictions are lifted the schedule will continue to build over time to match demand while also ensuring we are operating efficiently and on routes that our customers want to fly.”
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