Though figures haven’t been released to unveil the full extent of our decreased air travel habits, airports have seen a massive reduction in incoming flights, with Heathrow receiving only 10% of their usual daily flights in April. However, many airlines are hoping to resume their services sooner than you might think.
BA reckons they will return to service, operating at about 45% capacity compared to the year prior, in July at the earliest. However, this is under review as the UK government recently released harsh guidelines specifying the fourteen day self-isolation period for travellers entering the UK. Willie Walsh, the CEO of British Airways, thinks the July restart estimate may need to be rethinked.
At the moment, Ryanair is operating a limited flight schedule, and intends to do so until at least the 20th June.
The company is working with EU governments to provide a minimum amount of flights for emergency reasons; 99% of their usual service is paused.
They have announced that Ryanair plans to resume roughly 40% of their typical operations from the 1st of July, planning to take advantage of destinations such as Spain, where the government has announced they will not require visitors to self-quarantine from the 1st July.
easyJet’s entire fleet has been grounded since late March, solely operating flights intended to repatriate citizens. However, they plan to resume domestic flights from ten airports, including Newcastle, as well as some to major European airports.
A statement from easyJet’s CEO Johan Lundgren states: “We 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”.
Virgin announced they wish to resume flights from Heathrow to New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Shanghai from the 20th July. However, they haven’t announced other information regarding other routes or services. Their fleets are currently grounded and the company has suffered many financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 situation, with many employees having to take pay cuts.
What will flying post-COVID-19 look like? When flights do resume, we can expect to see physical distancing measures and the mandatory use of face masks.