The persistent COVID-19 ordeal disrupted and altered the airline industry, forcing several major carriers to quickly reevaluate their current strategy…
Ryanair, Optimistic for Summer, Adds UK Flights
Ryanair has announced that it is expanding its U.K. flight network in summer 2021 with optimism for foreign travel to return in force for the peak season. The announcement comes almost a year after the U.K. first imposed restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The low-cost airline is adding three new routes to Greece from London’s Stansted Airport, including two weekly flights each to Preveza, Zakynthos and Santorini.
In addition to the new routes, Ryanair is also adding additional flights to its current network. Flights to Corfu from Birmingham, East Midlands, Manchester and Southend will increase to three frequencies per week. Similarly, London to Rhodes will also see an additional flight.
All eight routes will start beginning July 1, almost two months after the U.K. government’s anticipated May 17 travel restart date.
“We are delighted to offer even greater choice, more routes and extra flights to Greece for our U.K. customers this summer. The U.K. government’s highly successful vaccination program gives customers the confidence that travel will be possible this summer,” Ryanair Director of Commercial Jason McGuinness said in the press release. “U.K. consumers can now choose from over 20 routes to some of the most popular summer holiday destinations in Greece.”
Greece Demand Soars
Greece has in recent years become a popular choice for tourism, a trend that has only continued to begin the year. The nation recently announced vaccinated British residents could visit quarantine-free beginning in May, Sky News reports. Alternatively, a negative coronavirus test would also allow tourists to visit without a mandatory isolation period.
The Sun reported that easyJet had seen demand for trips to the Greek island of Crete increase seven-fold. The airline announced that 65 percent of surveyed European consumers planned to travel this summer.
“We have consistently seen that there is pent-up demand for travel and this surge in bookings shows that this signal from the Government that it plans to reopen travel has been what UK consumers have been waiting for. While the summer may be a little while off, we will be working around the clock to ensure we will be ready to ramp up our flights to reconnect friends and family or take them on long-awaited holiday to remember,” easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said in a press release:
As of writing, Google Trends indicates searches for Greek holidays this year have surged by 400% in the U.K.
Other Target Markets
Europe remains popular for British tourists. Airlines, including Jet2 and easyJet, have seen a surge in bookings on the continent. However, it is currently against the law for British residents to travel internationally for leisure until at least May 17, even though a successful vaccine rollout is providing optimism for foreign holidays this summer.
Spain is another country looking to open up to vaccinated tourists. The Guardian reports that the nation hopes that the European Union will create an agreement around vaccine passports. However, without an agreement, Spain has proposed its own green-corridors, including one with the U.K.
“The solutions have first to be part of the discussions in the EU. And obviously, if that cannot be reached, we will be thinking of other corridors like green corridors with third countries that can help us restart tourism flows,” Spanish Tourism Minister Fernando Valdés, told Bloomberg.
i news has also reported that Cyprus would allow vaccinated Britons to enter without quarantining. Like with Greece, those who are unvaccinated will be able to enter Cyprus with a negative test.
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