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British Airways Proposes Domestic and International Flight Schedule for July
British Airways has filed plans this week to expand domestic and international flights commercial passenger operations in July. Routesonline reports that the U.K. carrier will recommence services from London Heathrow to eight key domestic markets during the month including Edinburgh (20 weekly), Belfast City (14 weekly) and Manchester (14 weekly). This follows U.K. government advice that further lockdown restrictions in England may be eased from July 4.
As far as international services for British Airways Routesonline reports that 29 destinations will be serviced from London Heathrow in July. Most of the destinations will see a daily service with New York-JFK and Chicago O’Hare being double daily. This is a considerable increase to the airline’s current commercial operation which has seen only seven destinations serviced and multiple commercial aircraft operating cargo services.
Though the expansion is a positive sign for U.K. aviation and the industry in general, it is noticeable that none of the airline’s 32 747-400 and 12 A380 aircraft have been assigned to any of the routes, which are scheduled to be flown by a mix of 777 (-200ER, -300ER), 787(-8, -9, -10) and A350-1000XWB aircraft.
Passenger confidence in a return to flying is an unknown at present so British Airways’ schedule will be subject to change. Further concern will also come from any continuation of the U.K.’s proposed 14-day quarantine measure for arriving travellers that comes into effect on Monday. The controversial proposal from the government has been met with widespread criticism from the aviation and tourism industry coming nearly three months after the initial lockdown.
On Friday the BBC reported that British Airways senior management failed to attend a telephone meeting about the quarantine measures between the government and key transportation officials. Sources quoted in the article cited the call as “a shambles” and that officials “got no reassurances from (U.K. Home Secretary) Priti Patel that the quarantine would be reduced in any significant way soon by agreeing so-called “air bridges.”
The prospect of “air bridges” between countries, agreements for citizens to travel without the need to adhere to strict 14-day quarantine measures, are seen as a way to stimulate demand. However, the U.K. government has stated that the idea is only ‘under consideration’ while the industry would like to see them working pro-actively to establish such agreements. One industry official has said that the quarantine proposal, which will be reviewed every 21 days, would be a “killer blow” to U.K. tourism.
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