Categories
Travel

China lockdown period: This is how many days China was in lockdown

China has seen its lockdown measures eased as the country successfully battles the coronavirus pandemic. Many have been impressed with the severity and ensuing results of the strict lockdown. Although the virus was identified as originating in Wuhan, China, the nation has had considerably fewer cases than elsewhere.

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At the time of writing, China has 84,119 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

This contrasts strongly to the UK’s higher number of 279,511.

So how long was China in lockdown for?

Hubei province, where Wuhan City is located, accounts for the vast majority of China’s coronavirus cases.

At the start of 2020, thousands of new cases were reported daily.

Now, Chinese authorities are claiming Wuhan and the wider province have no new cases to report.

Lockdown in Wuhan began back on January 23.

The move by Chinese authorities meant no travel in or out of the city was allowed, even for those who had important medical or humanitarian reasons.

Inside the city, public transport was completely suspended and cars were banned from the roads.

Surrounding cities and provinces soon followed suit.

Another 14 Chinese cities in China entered lockdown on January 24 with strict measures restricting the lives of 50 million people.

From March 28, China suspended the entry into China of foreign nationals with visas issued before March 27.

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Then, on April 8, after 11 weeks of lockdown, the roadblocks in Wuhan finally reopened and a number of restrictions eased.

As for what China is like now, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) explains its current travel advice: “Mandatory requirements to check temperatures and use health apps or scan QR codes to prove travel history are in place at transport hubs, hotels, commercial buildings including restaurants, residential compounds and other locations – such locations are also increasingly requiring use of ‘health kit code’ apps to demonstrate health condition and travel history.

“Restrictions on movement and quarantine arrangements remain for travel between different parts of the country.

“Some cities and provinces require travellers to undergo 14 days of isolation in their place of residence or in centralised observation.

The FCO continues: “Quarantine is enforced at the neighbourhood level, procedures vary, it is recommended to check in advance.

“The possibility that local authorities impose mandatory quarantine in response to fresh outbreaks is high.

“There have been reports of individuals who have frequented bars or restaurants where there have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 being mandated to undergo 14 days of centralised quarantine.

“You should keep up to date with the latest developments and this travel advice.”

The UK’s lockdown began on March 23 with restrictions easing slightly on May 10, marking seven weeks of a full lockdown.

However, many strict restrictions still remain in place.

Source: Read Full Article

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Travel

Travel update: Can we go on holiday in July?

Travel has been significantly disrupted since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of Britons would usually be looking forward to a holiday with summer nearing, and most of us fed up with being stuff inside during the beautiful weather. But can you go on holiday in July? Express.co.uk spoke to an expert on what tourists should expect.

When can you travel?

Lockdown restrictions are gradually easing across the UK, but staying in a house other than your primary residence is still banned.

This means people are currently unable to travel within the UK to second homes or for staycations.

The global travel industry also has been hard hit by the outbreak.

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently advising Britons against all but essential international travel.

The FCO coronavirus travel advice reads: “As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.

“Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

“If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available.

“Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”

But many airlines have discussed recommencing their flight schedules.

EasyJet grounded its entire fleet in March but is due to begin flights once against from June 15.

Predominantly the airline will begin domestic flights, with the only international flight being from Gatwick to Nice, France.

Ryanair is planning to begin flights from July 1 to 40 percent of its normal schedule.

Jet2 is also planning to resume flights from July.

Many may also be deterred from international travel given the new mandatory 14-day quarantine which is due to come into effect from June 8.

Travellers will also be required to fill in a form on arrival, including their contact information and an address where they will have to remain for two weeks and may be fined of up to £1,000 for breaking these rules.

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Can you travel in the UK?

Earlier this month, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden offered a potential boost to many in the domestic tourism sector claiming Britons could begin holidaying in July.

Holidays abroad are unlikely to go ahead as many travel bans are still in effect and airlines are on reduced services, but staycations may be possible.

Mr Dowden said: “I would love to get the tourism sector up as quickly as we possibly can.

“We’ve set this very ambitious plan to try and get it up and running by the beginning of July.”

Travel expert Lloyd Figgins, Chairman of the TRIP Group said: “In the short term, staycations in places such as holiday parks (once they reopen) are excellent alternatives. Booking a caravan or cabin at a holiday park has so many advantages, which allow tourists to enjoy a holiday while being able to comply with the government’s COVID-19 recommendations.

“They offer tourists the opportunity for a low-risk, high-reward break.”

From Monday, June 1, the Government is allowing people to meet with up to six people in outdoors spaces including public gardens.

This move is the latest in the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Despite this easing the Government’s core advice of keeping a two-metre distance between people from different households and maintaining good hygiene is paramount.

The current Government advice reads: “Premises such as hotels and bed and breakfasts will remain closed, except where providing accommodation for specific reasons set out in law, such as for critical workers where required for a reason relating to their work.”

However, from July it is thought possible hotels, campsites and holiday sites may be able to reopen so long as they can ensure they are COVID-19 secure.

Can you go on holiday in July?

Mr Figgins said: “Overseas holidays will take a little longer and until the government changes its advice from “all but essential travel” we are not going to see a return to normal.

The 14-day quarantine rule comes into effect on June 8 and will be reviewed every three weeks, so we might know more about international travel by the end of June.

“We’re already seeing Germany, Italy and Spain opening up to domestic tourism, so provided that goes well, it’s likely that these could be among the first countries to open to British tourists.

“However, Greece has announced that it won’t be accepting British tourists in the short term, so it really will be a case of seeing which countries are accepting British travellers before making a booking.”

He added: “The travel landscape has changed, so airlines and tour operators will need to adapt to these changes with a robust approach.

“They also need to expect any return to international travel will happen slowly with a number of carefully monitored stages.

“Travellers must not be put in danger simply to regenerate the travel industry.

“To do so would cause long term harm to the sector and erode consumer confidence long into the future.

“If the travel industry gets this right and adopts robust risk management procedures to keep people safe during such a time of uncertainty, it will help secure its future.

“If it rushes into a return to travel without the appropriate safety measures in place it will take a very long time to recover.”

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Travel

Ryanair flights: When will Ryanair fly again?

Ryanair flights come as a blessing for millions of people who require low-fare air travel every year, as one of the most popular airlines in the UK. However, much like a string of others, the company has ceased all but essential travel while the coronavirus outbreak rages in many of its most-visited locations.

When will Ryanair fly again?

Few airlines have revealed their post-pandemic plans beyond cutting a portion of their workforce to blunt economic damage.

Only EasyJet, Jet2, BA, and TUI have announced plans to return to the skies once more alongside Ryanair.

The airline has grounded 99 percent of its fleet during the pandemic but has now given a date for when flights will resume.

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According to the airline, Ryanair will begin to operate on a surprisingly broad schedule from the beginning of July.

Holidaymakers can start flying with the airline on July 1.

From then, Ryanair will release 40 percent of its schedule and 1,000 flights every day.

The airline plans to operate journeys from 19 UK airports to mainly European countries.

Which airports will Ryanair fly from?

Ryanair will launch flights from the following airports:

  • London Stansted
  • London Gatwick
  • London Luton
  • London Southend
  • Aberdeen
  • Belfast International
  • Birmingham
  • Bournemouth
  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • Derry
  • East Midlands
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Glasgow Prestwick
  • Leeds Bradford
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle

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Which destinations will Ryanair fly to?

Ryanair will serve the following locations:

  • Spain: Seville, Valencia, Tenerife, Zaragoza, Jerez, Malaga, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Madrid, Fuerteventura, Murcia, Gran Canaria, Santander, Menorca
  • France: Toulouse, Perpignan, Bergerac, Limoges, Beziers, Nantes, Marseille.
  • Italy: Verona, Venice, Turin, Trieste, Lamezia, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Pisa.
  • Portugal: Terceira Lajes, Porto, Faro, Lisbon
  • Greece: Corfu, Chania, Rhodes, Thessaloniki
  • Germany: Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Memmingen, Karlsruhe
  • Ireland: Dublin, Cork, Knock, Shannon
  • Poland: Warsaw, Szczecin, Wroclaw, Olsztyn-Mazury, Rzeszow, Krakow, Gdansk, Katowice, Bydgoszcz, Poznan, Lodz
  • Lithuania: Vilnius, Kaunas
  • Sweden: Stockholm, Goteborg Landvetter
  • Norway: Oslo
  • Estonia: Talinn
  • Romania: Bucharest
  • Bulgaria: Sofia
  • Hungary: Budapest
  • Nwetherlands: Eindhoven
  • Czech Republic: Prague
  • Austria: Salzburg
  • Montenegro: Podgorica
  • Morocco: Marrakesh
  • Slovakia: Bratislava
  • Latvia: Riga
  • Cyprus: Paphos
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Travel

One-on-One With the Head of the UN World Tourism Organization

The restrictions to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought the world economy to its knees. And the travel and tourism sector—with its reliance on transport links, human interaction and density of visitors—has been hit the hardest.

Data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) show that only in March, the start of a lockdown in many countries, arrivals were down by 57 percent, which translated into a loss of 67 million international arrivals.

Figures for April and May will be even gloomier. In its worst-case scenario, this UN agency estimates that the massive drop in demand in international travel by the end of the year could put up to 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk globally.

TravelPulse interviewed via email Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO. From Madrid, where his Organization is based, the Georgian former minister sheds light on how the sector can address what is by far the worst crisis that international tourism has faced since records began in 1950.

TravelPulse (TP): Past crises have shown tourism’s strong capacity to bounce back quickly after external shocks. Given the unprecedented scale of this situation, can the industry start to heal this time as restrictions are lifted?

Zurab Pololikashvili (ZP): As you note, tourism has long proven its resilience. It has bounced back from adversity before—globally, after the economic crisis of 2008 and the SARS outbreak and on a more local level after terror attacks or natural disasters. Tourism will bounce back again. Above all, people want to travel and experience new places. As this crisis has shown, we are social beings and so, once restrictions are lifted and providing people feel safe, we should expect to see tourist numbers start rising again.

Let’s be hopeful and gloomy at once. Which are the UNWTO’s best and worst-case scenarios? This is an unprecedented situation. Our research shows that 100 percent of all global destinations have introduced either full or partial travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19. What impact this will have on tourism and on our economies is yet to be seen and is hard to predict with any great certainty.

UNWTO has outlined three possible scenarios, based on when travel restrictions are lifted. These point to a fall in international tourist numbers for the year 2020 of between 60 percent and 80 percent, again depending on when restrictions are eased and lifted. Several countries have announced to slowly open tourism in the coming days and weeks and we will closely observe developments to have a clearer picture of actual consumer behavior and market response.

TP: Germany’s Foreign Minister has warned that opening up tourism too early could lead to a serious outbreak of the virus. Do you agree?

ZP: These steps will require international cooperation. This is one of the key lessons from this crisis and shows how interdependent we all are. And this will make us stronger. In this context, the lifting of travel restrictions needs to be carried out in a timely and responsible manner involving the tourism sector, public health and international relations.

Tourism as a sector has always placed the wellbeing of people first. UNWTO is confident that governments will continue to follow the latest public health recommendations and find the right balance between keeping people safe and allowing the many social and economic benefits tourism can bring in return. You recently said that “nice words and gestures will not protect jobs.” What measures does the UNWTO encourage countries to adopt to help drive the recovery of the sector?

This has been our message from the start: Tourism can lead recovery, but only if the sector is supported with firm action and not just words. We recently released the UNWTO Recommendations for Recovery to help both governments and the private sector mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and to accelerate future recovery.

In the short-term, governments and international organizations need to commit to protecting tourism jobs and businesses, including SMEs which make up to 80 percent of our sector. Providing liquidity at this challenging time will support millions of livelihoods, and reviewing and revising fiscal policies and regulations relating to tourism will ensure our sector is strong and ready to lead a wider recovery.

TP: This crisis will have a considerable impact on the disposable income of travelers. How can countries and the industry itself come back to their feet amidst weak demand resulting from the imminent global recession?

ZP: As we have discussed, people want to travel and have adapted in the past to changing circumstances, hence always one of the reasons for tourism’s resilience. The other ingredient to accelerate recovery will be trust. Trust is the new currency. Only if people feel safe will they travel again. This means we need coordination between governments and for the public and private sectors to work together to boost consumer confidence.

TP: As China seems to show, will domestic tourism bring an early degree of relief to the sector once the pandemic is contained?

ZP: We expect domestic tourism to return to growth before international tourism. This will indeed provide relief for the many communities and individuals that rely on tourism for their livelihoods. Domestic tourism can be particularly helpful for rural communities, providing jobs and opportunities, including for youth. At the same time, we need to ensure international tourism returns as soon as possible. Tourism is an established and important pillar of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the longer the world is at a standstill, the greater the risk of us falling behind.

TP: Can the COVID-19 disruption be an opportunity to address some of the sector’s shortcomings, like its environmental impact and the overtourism phenomenon in some cities?

ZP: As a sector, tourism does indeed face several big challenges, including its environmental impact, sustainability and ensuring large tourist numbers are properly managed in the most popular destinations. Much progress was being made in all of these areas. For instance, UNWTO has been leading global efforts to make tourism, including transport for tourism, more sustainable.

Nevertheless, this crisis does represent a unique opportunity to rethink where we want to go as a sector. The pandemic has shown the strength of solidarity and goodwill across borders. This spirit must be embraced as we return to traveling. Sustainable travel must no longer be seen as a niche market but as a driving principle of our sector.

TP: Has the way we travel changed forever?

ZP: The tourism of next year and in 10 years’ time may look a lot different. However, the essence of tourism will remain the same. Tourism is the ultimate person-to-person sector and is all about embracing new experiences and making new connections.

Interview by Javier Delgado Rivera, a freelance journalist writing about travel, the tourism sector and the United Nations.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Transport

Boeing Resumes 737 MAX Production, Announces More Job Cuts

Boeing announced Wednesday it would be forced to cut more than 12,000 jobs in the United States due to the continued impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

According to The Associated Press, Boeing officials revealed it would lay off 6,770 U.S. employees this week and hammer out an agreement with another 5,520 workers on voluntary buyouts.

In the comping months, the airplane manufacturer said it would cut 10 percent of its total workforce of around 160,000 employees. About 10,000 of the layoffs and buyouts would be focused in the Seattle area.

“The COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on the airline industry means a deep cut in the number of commercial jets and services our customers will need over the next few years, which in turn means fewer jobs on our lines and in our offices,” Boeing CEO David Calhoun announced to employees on Wednesday.

In addition to the job cuts, the company revealed production of grounded 737 MAX planes has once again resumed. The fleet of existing MAX aircraft remains grounded since 2019 after two deadly crashes.

Boeing executives expect to resume deliveries of the 737 planes before October.

Air travel in the U.S. fell by 96 percent through mid-April to fewer than 100,000 people at times, but the numbers are climbing. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials said they screened 264,843 people at airports on Tuesday.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Travel

British Airways: BA offers passengers way to avoid 14 day quarantine rules by doing this

The travel and tourism sector has reportedly been put under more financial strain due to the UK government’s quarantine travel rules which are set to be enforced from June 8. The rules will see anyone arriving into the UK from abroad face 14 days in quarantine at an address in the UK. Anyone caught breaking the rules could face a fine of £1,000, according to the Home Secretary Priti Patel.

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The only exceptions are those arriving from the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

The rules have enraged the tourism and travel industry who have since written a letter to Ms Patel, asking the government to change the rules.

Travel bosses and hotel owners have said that the rules could potentially “deter UK visitors from travelling abroad” and could have a detrimental effect on already struggling industries like airlines and hotels.

The travel firms say the sector contributed a staggering £200billion to the UK economy last year – around nine percent of the UK’s GDP – meaning that the rules could have a devastating economic impact on the country.

But the Home Office has said that the rules are vital to try and stop the possibility of a “devastating” second wave.

And so, to try and dodge the rules British Airways has introduced an alleged “quarantine-avoidance waiver”.

The waiver will allow anyone returning to the UK from abroad the chance to change their return date if it is between June 8 and June 28.

This means that travellers can return before midnight of June 8 and avoid isolating themselves for two weeks.

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British Airways told Express.co.uk that this is for customers due to travel up to June 28.

They said: “We offer a range of flexible booking polices to provide our customers with as many options as possible, including allowing customers to bring their journey to the UK forward, up to June 7, or to take a voucher for future travel.”

BA has also announced that it is cutting its routes from Leeds Bradford Airport.

Yorkshire will no longer have any air connections to London.

The move is likely going to push travellers and commuters to use Manchester Airport or trains to get to London.

A spokesperson for the Yorkshire airport said they are “disappointed” in the move.

In a statement, they said: “We are disappointed that BA has taken the decision to cease its route between Leeds Bradford Airport and Heathrow.

“Domestic and international connectivity remains critical to support business and the region’s economy and we hope to welcome BA back in the future.”

British Airways announced plans recently for a “meaningful return to service” in July.

However, this will all be dependent on restrictions being relaxed in the UK and global destinations.

A spokesman said: “These plans are highly uncertain and subject to the easing of lockdowns and travel restriction.”

Currently, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice states that travelling abroad is prohibited unless it is for an “essential” purpose.

This advice is in place “indefinitely”, according to the FCO.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Travel

Pound to euro exchange rate: GBP ‘struggles’ against the euro after EU announcement

The pound slid back against the euro yesterday, dipping just below the 1.12 handle, leaving it in a vulnerable position today. The pound is currently trading at a rate of 1.1136 against the euro according to Bloomberg at the time of writing. This is lower than Tuesday’s 1.1191 percent against the euro.

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Michael Brown, Currency Expert at Caxton FX, spoke to Express.co.uk to provide exclusive insight into the current exchange rate.

“Sterling struggled against a stronger euro on Wednesday, as the common currency gained ground after a potential game-changing announcement of an EU-wide recovery package, including the issuance of common debt,” he said.

“Today, geopolitics will remain in focus, with the latest round of Eurostat sentiment surveys likely to be ignored.”

Despite focus remaining on the coronavirus vaccine and “geopolitics”, it seems that the UK’s own economic strain is still the centre of attention.

Unemployment levels are expected to more than double this summer, according to The Guardian.

In April alone, 70 percent of all people in the UK were claiming unemployment benefits, hitting a record of 2.1 million.

Meanwhile, others believe that Brexit negotiations with the EU will dictate investor appetite.

George Vessey, UK Currency Strategist, Western Union Business Solutions said that Brexit negotiations are still fuelling sterling demand.

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He said: “As well as renewed risk appetite fuelling sterling demand, rumours have emerged that the EU may be willing to drop its current maximalist approach on fisheries in negotiations with the UK next week.

“This sign of a potential compromise on fishing rights may indicate more EU concessions are possible and this should boost demand for the pound.

“GBP/USD started the week near $1.21 and charged towards $1.24 yesterday.

“Up until yesterday, there was increasing fear of a no-trade deal Brexit unfolding at the end of this year due to the impasse in UK-EU trade talks over the last few months.”

Mr Vessey also explained that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and government lockdowns have taken up a lot of “government time” but the UK has said it still plans to leave the EU in January next year.

He continued: “The spread of coronavirus and the lockdowns have also soaked up a lot of government time, energy and resources, so many had assumed an extension to the transition period would be required.

“However, the UK government insists the UK will leave the bloc with or without a trade deal by January 1, 2021.

“Concerns over a no-trade deal outcome were weighing on the pound, and although we are a long way off from a free trade deal, there appears an air of optimism that is supporting sterling.

“UK Chief Negotiator David Frost will give a formal testimony on the progress of the negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

“A potential move towards $1.24 may be seen again in the near future, but GBP/USD faces a downward trendline at the $1.2350 mark which may inhibit this run higher.

“A U-turn might open the door to a test of the $1.20 level again should sterling sentiment sour.”

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Cruises

Marriott Announces Further Plans to Cut Costs

Marriott International announced Wednesday it would be forced to furlough and layoff more employees as the ongoing coronavirus outbreak continues to ravage the hospitality industry.

Officials from Marriott said the viral pandemic has hurt business more than 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis combined, forcing the company to implement additional measures to reduce costs and improve its liquidity.

Due to the reduced demand and the drastic drop in RevPAR levels, the hotel giant revealed “above-property associates” in the United States who were furloughed and or handed reduced workweek schedules would have the terms extended through October 2.

In addition, Marriott announced a voluntary transition program for associates in the U.S. that allows employees to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. The program is expected to expand to properties all around the world.

While the company did not reveal the number of employees that would be impacted by the cost-cutting measures, a statement from Marriott claimed it “anticipates a significant number of above-property position eliminations later this year.”

Earlier this month, officials announced profits dropped 92 percent as it earned $31 million, or nine cents a share, through the first three months of the year compared to $375 million a year ago.

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson also released a memo in early May spotlighting the company’s strengthened commitment to cleanliness at its hotels and detailing measures that are now underway to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Travel

easyJet: How travelling with the airline will change after coronavirus – new onboard rules

easyJet has announced plans to resume some of its commercial flight services as of June 15, following almost two months grounded. However, travellers will notice some changes to the onboard experience that have been put in place as a result of the pandemic.

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The airline has introduced new measures to ensure both health and hygiene on board is enough to keep all those flying with them as safe as possible.

Following in the footsteps of other airlines including Wizz Air and Ryanair, easyJet will be requiring all passengers to wear face coverings.

Passengers will be expected to provide these themselves.

The easyJet website explains: “Masks should be worn by all passengers arriving at the airport.

“There may be dispensing machines for masks available at airports as well as hand sanitiser dispensing machines, but we strongly encourage everyone to arrive with a mask.

“Passengers will be required to provide their own masks.

“We will also stock additional masks onboard as a precautionary measure should a passenger find themselves without a fit for use mask, for example, if it breaks during the flight.”

The rules do not make exceptions for children, with all passengers over the age of two required to wear a mask.

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The crew will also be required to wear masks on board.

easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said that “these are small and carefully planned steps”.

The airline says that it is working in line with relevant medical guidance set out by experts.

“We are following the guidance set out by the WHO, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) which is also recognised by civil aviation authorities and national governments, as well as the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and Public Health England,” easyJet’s website continues.

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“We have set up a biosecurity standards group which regularly reviews standards and recommended practices from these organisations.”

Passengers will also be given hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes once onboard.

easyJet also said that its aircraft would also be subject to “enhanced cleaning and disinfection”.

However, despite calls for the middle seats to be left empty, the budget-carrier has decided not to make this move.

They explain: “In line with the guidelines set out by the authorities there is no requirement to keep any seats free on board and so this is not something we will implement.”

easyJet adds: “Social distancing will be practised in airports and during boarding. Guidelines set down by the regulators do not recommend social distancing onboard due to the practicalities of commercial air travel.

“There are a number of other measures in place to protect customers and crew onboard.”

Inflight service is also set to see some changes when flights resume, including the removal of the foodservice.

Mr Lundgren said: “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.”

The airline has announced initial domestic routes throughout the UK from June, with just one international route to Nice, France from London Gatwick.

Mr Lundgren said: “I am really pleased that we will be returning to some flying in the middle of June.

“These are small and carefully planned steps that we are taking to resume operations.

“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.”

A list of routes on offer from June include:

• Belfast to Birmingham

• Belfast to Bristol

• Belfast to Edinburgh

• Belfast to Glasgow

• Belfast to London Gatwick

• Belfast to Liverpool

• Belfast to Newcastle

• Birmingham to Belfast

• Bristol to Belfast

• Edinburgh to Belfast

• Edinburgh to London Gatwick

• Glasgow to Belfast

• Glasgow to London Gatwick

• Inverness to London Gatwick

• Isle of Man to London Gatwick

• Isle of Man to Liverpool

• London Gatwick to Belfast

• London Gatwick to Edinburgh

• London Gatwick to Glasgow

• London Gatwick to Inverness

• London Gatwick to Isle of Man

• London Gatwick to Nice

• Liverpool to Belfast

• Liverpool to Isle of Man

• Newcastle to Belfast

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Travel

Tui customers remain angry over lack of coronavirus refunds

Six days after the boss of Britain’s biggest holiday company admitted blunders over refunds, disappointed customers are continuing to complain about delays getting their money back.

Tui has had to cancel more package trips than any other firm because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On 21 May, the managing director, Andrew Flintham, sent an email to hundreds of thousands of customers, saying: “I’d like to apologise for the frustration you may have felt. I’d like to assure you that we’re dedicated to doing everything we can to make things better.”

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But many customers are still expressing their frustration, both in messages to The Independent and on social media.

Mark and Elizabeth Kennett were due to travel on 25 March, and say they are still owed £1,550. Mr Kennett said: “Hitherto we were loyal Tui customers who travelled with the company on an expensive holiday every year.”

Under the Package Travel Regulations, anyone whose holiday is cancelled is entitled to a full cash refund within two weeks of notification.

Almost the entire travel industry has been unable to meet this obligation, as they attempt to change from businesses devoted to sending people on holiday into organisations handing back customers’ money.

Mike Shaney has had holidays to Cape Verde and Cuba cancelled. He said: “Together they cost about £4,000. I had the cancellation confirmation email from them on 13 March for one holiday and 24 March for the other. I have been very patient.”

Paige Stevens, who says she has been waiting for a refund since April, tweeted: “@TUIUK can someone respond to me! Twice on hold for an hour to have the phone put down! I just want my refund!!”

A week ago, Tui was still insisting that customers waited for a “refund credit note” before phoning for a refund.

The company has now promised to short-cut its refund process, allowing for online cancellations.

A spokesperson for Tui said: “We’re really sorry that refunds are taking longer than expected. We’ve had to cancel holidays for nearly a million customers, and we’re currently processing all the refunds that have been requested; these take around four weeks.

“We’ve introduced an online refund form to help our customers and we’re working tirelessly behind the scenes as quickly as possible to process the requests.”

With the Foreign Office continuing to warn against all non-essential travel abroad, and the Home Office imposing quarantine on returning holidaymakers from 8 June, travel firms are cancelling departures in their thousands for next month.

Jet2 has axed all holidays due to depart up to 30 June. Tui is expected to announce its cancellations imminently.

Many other firms are under fire for delays with refunds. Adele Goel told The Independent: “I had a big, big holiday, celebrating a 60th, 50th and 18th birthday, and wedding anniversary cancelled by Norwegian Cruise Line on 8 March, and requested a refund on 21 March.

“No sign of money nor any response from ‘personal cruise consultants’.”

A spokesperson for the cruise line said: “We recently cancelled an unprecedented number of cruises due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has resulted in a much higher than normal volume of refund requests to be processed.

“Our team is working tirelessly to finalise these refunds back to the original form of payment which are being received within 90 days of being requested.”

James Healey tweeted: “@easyJet I can’t get through on the phones been waiting for a refund for over 2 months now! How can I get some help?”

The Independent has requested a response from easyJet.

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