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British Airways demonstrates Covid-19 safety at the airport and on board

British Airways has released a video highlighting the measures introduced at the airport and onboard to keep customers safe during the pandemic.

In the video Head of Global Sales Mark Muren interviews Dr Mike Harrigan, British Airways’ medical lead, on the measures in place including:

  • Asking customers to check-in online, download their boarding pass and where possible self-scan their boarding passes at the departure gate
  • Requiring customers to wear a facemask at all times and bringing enough to replace them every four hours for longer flights
  • Social distancing markers and hand sanitiser stations placed throughout airports
  • New ordering system in lounges to reduce contact
  • Cabin crew wearing PPE and a new food service, which reduces the number of interactions required with customers
  • Providing customers with a personal protection pack including a sealable disposal bag, hand sanitising gel and an antibacterial wipe.
  • Enhanced cleaning measures and HEPA filters

They also discuss the latest research from IATA which showed that since the start of 2020 there have been just 44 cases of COVID-19 reported in which transmission is thought to have been associated with a flight (that includes confirmed, probable and potential cases). Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled, which is just one case for every 27 million travellers.

If you have any questions about Covid-19 safety at airports or on board, or if you simply want to discuss your plans for your next British Airways flight, please contact your GTM Account Manager.

British Airways 747 flies to Surrey to become a movie set

A British Airways 747 has been flown to Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey to start its new life as a television and movie set.

G-CIVW made its first flight in 1998, the same day Chicago Cubs’ Kerry Wood threw a one-hit, no-walk, 20-strikeout and Apple launched the iMac.

The aircraft, registration G-CIVW, departed from Cardiff Airport today, 22 October, at 1.30pm as flight number BA1978E, landing at Dunsfold at 2.15pm.

The aircraft will be preserved for use as a commercial film set and training facility. It will keep its Chatham Dockyard livery and will be stored in public view on the airfield.  In time the aircraft will be opened up as an exhibition for visitors to experience up-close the size and scale of the Queen of the Skies.

The aircraft’s final flight took it within a few miles of the Woking headquarters of Global Travel Management.

An excited Paul Baker, GTM’s Sales Director said

The excitement at Global Travel Management in Woking reached near fever pitch today whilst following the progress of B747, registration G-CIVW, on its way from Cardiff Airport to Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, where it will begin its new life as a television and movie set.

The final flight of G-CIVW took the aircraft within a few miles of GTM’s offices in Woking.
Image: Flightradar

The aircraft, like many other 747s, has ties with the world of film, having flown many actors across its cabins and having often visited film set hotspots like Los Angeles and New York. In its new role it will feature more prominently in front of the camera, used to mock up interior and exterior shots for TV and film.

Jim McAllister, Chief Executive, Dunsfold Aerodrome, commented:

The 747 is a unique and important piece of aviation history and we are excited to be taking delivery of this retired aircraft at Dunsfold Aerodrome. Whilst G-CIVW will no longer fly, the aircraft will be preserved and given a new lease of life in the world of TV and film, training and special events.

After entering the British Airways fleet on 15 May, 1998, G-CIVW operated 11,424 flights and flew 90,617 hours over 45 million miles. Its last passenger flight was from Boston to Heathrow on 28 March, 2020.

British Airways says goodbye to the “first of its last” 747 jumbo jets

British Airways has retired its first Boeing 747 since announcing last month that all 31 of its jumbo jets had sadly flown their last commercial services.

The Boeing 747-400, registration G-CIVD, departed from London Heathrow under flight number BA9170E after more than 25 magnificent years of flying.

The aircraft received an emotional farewell from the NATS Air Traffic Control Tower at Heathrow Airport.

British Airways’ fleet of 747s are being retired at an accelerated rate as a result of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector.

Al Bridger, British Airways’ Director of Flight Operations, said: 

All of us at British Airways and so many of our customers will have fond memories and special moments from our travels on the iconic jumbo jet.

As a pilot who was lucky enough to fly the aircraft, the sheer scale of it was unforgettable, you literally looked down on other aircraft. It changed aviation forever when it arrived in the skies and I know I speak for our customers and the global aviation community when I say, despite rightly moving to more sustainable ways of flying, we will still miss the 747 dearly.

The 747 has been an iconic part of British Airways’ fleet for nearly fifty years. At one point the airline operated 57 of the aircraft, with the jumbo jet’s first flight to New York in 1971.

The fuel-hungry aircraft were slowly being phased out by British Airways as they reached the end of their working life in order to help meet the company’s commitment to net zero by 2050.

The airline has invested heavily in new, modern long-haul aircraft including six A350s and 32 787s which are around 25% more fuel-efficient than the 747.


Airlines increasing routes in August

Around the world, airlines are beginning to increase the number and frequency of services, as the airline industry starts the fightback and paves the way to global economic recovery .

We’ve taken a look at what plans some of the world’s leading airlines have to bolster their schedules this month.

British Airways

Throughout August, British Airways is resuming flying to more destinations, albeit with continued low frequencies while the impact of Covid-19 remains felt across the globe.

In Europe flights will resume to the holiday destinations of Bari, Bastia, Bodrum, Bordeaux, Catania, Figari, Frankfurt, Genoa, Kefalonia, Lyon, Luxembourg, Malta, Paphos and Pula, while further afield Antigua, Islamabad and Nairobi join the long-haul line-up.

Air France

Air France plans a gradual frequency increase throughout the summer period, reaching 20% of the capacity initially planned for June, 35% in July and now, 40% this month. It is planning to reach of 80% of its pre-Covid global network having flights, with reduced frequencies, during the summer.

KLM

In terms of numbers of destinations, KLM is virtually at pre-Covid-19 levels.  Between now and October, KLM will be serving 91 destinations, just one fewer than the same period last year, and up from 72 in July.

Lufthansa

Last month, Lufthansa announced that Birmingham-Munich, Edinburgh-Frankfurt and Glasgow-Frankfurt would be reintroduced in August, while London City-Frankfurt would return in October.  However, the airline has subsequently brought forward – to 7 September – the return of the latter service.

United Airlines

United announced the return of the San Francisco route from Heathrow this month as well as Chicago to Brussels and Frankfurt, and Newark to Brussels, Munich and Zurich. Overall United will be serving 25% of its usual international schedules, up from 16% last month.

Delta Air Lines

Following the reintroduction of a number of routes in July, Delta has announced it will continue to offer a robust, connection-friendly network in August, flying more than 3,000 daily departures and serving 239 destinations worldwide, including 206 markets in the U.S. and 33 internationally.

American

American Airlines increased domestic flights and reopened Admirals Club lounges earlier in the summer, as well as resuming flights from Charlotte, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Raleigh-Durham to Heathrow, from where it now operates at Terminal 5.  The airline has also announced a strategic partnership with Jetblue which, it claims, will increase American’s schedule to further European, African, Indian and South American routes.

Ryanair

Ryanair will increase flights to over 60% of its normal schedule throughout August, following what it said was a successful resumption of services at 40% of capacity last month.

easyJet

easyJet announced earlier in the summer that it intended to increase the routes it operates to 75% of normal, in August, up from 50% in July.

If you plan to book flights on these – or any other airlines – this month, contact your GTM Account Manager.

British Airways brings back more flights in August

Throughout August, British Airways is resuming flying to more destinations.

In Europe the airline will resume flights to Bari, Bastia, Bodrum, Bordeaux, Catania, Figari, Frankfurt, Genoa, Kefalonia, Lyon, Luxembourg, Malta, Paphos and Pula, while further afield Antigua, Islamabad and Nairobi join the long-haul line-up.

Frankfurt, Nairobi and Luxembourg are all among cities to which British Airways will be increasing flights this month.

Flights currently start from as little as £31 each way to Europe. Customers whose flights were affected over recent months and who claimed a voucher can use it towards the flights. Alternatively, Avios can also be used towards Reward flights, upgrades, hotels and car rental. When using Avios part payment, customers can pick from a range of savings by destination and cabin and they still collect Avios and Tier Points on their booking.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and CEO, said:

We’re gradually returning to more of our network and will be flying to some great holiday destinations over the summer with seats from as little as £31 each way.

We know people want to be able to book with confidence, so we’ve introduced a range of flexible booking options to set their minds at rest, such as being able to change a booking free of charge or cancel and receive a voucher for travel at a later date.

British Airways’ has introduced a range of measures, which it requires customers and crew to abide by. These include:

  • Checking-in online, downloading their boarding pass and where possible self-scanning their boarding passes at the departure gate
  • Observing social distancing and using hand sanitisers that are placed throughout airports
  • Wearing a facemask at all times and bringing enough to replace them every four hours for longer flights
  • Asking customers not to travel if they think they have any symptoms of Covid-19
  • Cabin crew wearing PPE and a new food service, which reduces the number of interactions required with customers
  • Asking customers to ensure they have everything they need from their hand luggage before departure, and where possible, storing their carry-on bag under the seat in front of them

The airline is cleaning all key surfaces including seats, screens, seat buckles and tray tables after every flight and each aircraft is completely cleaned from nose to tail every day. The air on all British Airways flights is fully recycled once every two to three minutes through HEPA filters, which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with over 99.9% efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating theatre standards.

If your business travel plans take you to cities served by British Airways, contact your GTM Account Manager for the latest schedules, fares and availability.

Edinburgh Airport reveals measures, backed up by “let’s all flysafe” campaign

A new campaign and range of measures to help passengers and staff prepare for the return of travel has been announced by Edinburgh Airport.

The “let’s all flysafe” campaign is part of the airport’s readiness programme as airlines begin to restart operations and will provide confidence and reassurance to those travelling through and working at the airport.

Measures introduced at the airport include:


The sky-blue line will guide people into the terminal while the maroon line will guide people out of the terminal.
  • One-way colour-coded systems to manage flow and social distance
  • Hand sanitising stations installed inside and outside the airport
  • Protective screens installed in check-in, security and arrivals
  • A trial of temperature checking technology for departing passengers
  • Staff wearing face coverings and PPE in passenger facing areas
  • Enhanced cleaning schedules and new fogging machines to disinfect trollies and wheelchairs
  • Deep cleaning of security trays, and new anti-viral trays introduced

Sanitising stations have been installed for people to clean their hands before entering the terminal, before and after security and in Arrivals.

The campaign is backed by new signage at the airport clearly explaining to people where they need to go. They include colours different from the traditional brand colours. The sky-blue, maroon red and lime green differentiates the campaign from regular materials.

Social media graphics will also be used to prepare people ahead of arriving at the airport, while emails containing the same messaging will be sent to our passengers.

The campaign encourages staff and passengers to work together and for all of us to do what we can to protect each other and flysafe. The airport has introduced five general rules for travellers to follow:

  • Don’t risk it – don’t fly or come to the airport if you feel unwell
  • Protect yourself and others – please wear a face covering
  • Clean your hands often – wash or use sanitiser
  • Maintain social distancing and be mindful of other passengers
  • Be kind, be patient and flysafe

The introduction of the campaign and enhanced measures comes as airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair, Loganair, Wizz and British Airways look to reintroduce parts of their schedule.

The let’s all flysafe campaign has been created in partnership with Edinburgh-based The Lane Agency who have a strong track record with high-profile campaigns and a close relationship with the airport.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport said:

We know how important it is to provide passengers with reassurance and confidence as they look to return to travel and we’ve spent a lot of time looking at how we do that by making improvements to our operation.

The steps we have taken will allow people to get moving safely and reopen our economy by providing that connectivity that our airlines are rebuilding. We all have a part to play in this recovery and we must make sure we do that by encouraging people to flysafe.

Adam Wilson, Operations Director at Edinburgh Airport said:

Although we never want to see a near empty airport, we’ve utilised the time to closely look at the terminal and surrounding areas and come up with a plan to protect everyone as much as possible.

We know the layout is different and we know it will take time to adapt to it, but we believe the campaign and measures are the right thing for our airport and our passengers. We’re effectively welcoming people into our home and these changes are our way of providing them with confidence and reassurance, letting them know we care about and them and their journeys.

We’ll continue to evaluate our approach as we go forward, and we encourage people to provide feedback and help us all flysafe.

Coronavirus – a guide to the latest travel news and medical advice

For the latest updates on the Coronavirus situation, make sure you are following the GTM Twitter account – details here: http://ow.ly/QYmh50yghXK

To see how Global Travel Management are ensuring clients’ travel plans are managed smoothly, despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, please see here:
https://gtm.uk.com/how-were-tackling-coronavirus-for-business-travellers/

UPDATE: 22 MAY 16:45



UPDATE: 15 MAY 16:45

UPDATE: 12 MAY 16:30

There are reports that the UK Government will instigate a quarantine policy on arriving passengers, from early next months – an announcement heavily criticised by IAG‘s Willie Walsh. Elsewhere…

UPDATE: 8 MAY 16:30

Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to cut jobs. KLM mandates face masks. Finland opens borders. IATA oppose the blocking of middle seats, favouring face masks. Eurowings asked passengers for new ideas. Qatar increases operations. Hong Kong Airport introduces full body disinfection booths.

UPDATE: 4 MAY 08:00

Travel providers continue to make plans and adjustments in the on-going fight against the pandemic. Airports are sharing plans and results, hotel groups are enhancing their product and offerings, while airlines and rail companies continue to update their arrangements.

And, finally, on this day in 2018, Heathrow Airport celebrated “Star Wars Day” with an announcement of several new destinations, from Tatooine to the Death Star…

UPDATE: 28 APRIL 10:00

Airlines have announced further suspensions and arranged further repatriation flights; the UK government is discussing passenger quarantine; Gatwick issues a gloomy prediction; while The Londoner’s opening is postponed.

UPDATE: 24 APRIL 16:00

IATA announce the end of cheap travel and predict the UK will see 140m fewer flights; airlines continue to suspend services; airlines mandate use of masks and PPE; while airlines and hotel groups offer further concessions to customers.

UPDATE: 21 APRIL 17:00

Global Travel Management continues to publish regular tweets, every day, to update followers on all aspects of business travel, including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. You can follow GTM’s Twitter account here – @GlobalTravelMgt h– meanwhile, here are some recent tweets:

UPDATE: 17 APRIL 17:00

Airlines have taken further actions amid warnings of revenues diminishing significantly, while another rail company is seeking government help and a U.S. airline has taken an innovative approach to reducing onboard touchpoints.

UPDATE: 15 APRIL 12:00

Airlines, airports, hotel groups and national governments all continue to react to the global pandemic.

UPDATE: 13 APRIL 18:00

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, is taking full advantage of the aircraft downtime as a result of the coronavirus pandemic to conduct an extensive maintenance and cabin refresh programme.

UPDATE: 12 APRIL 15:00

Air Asia and Air France KLM have been reported in the news this weekend:

UPDATE: 11 APRIL 10:00

Brussels Airlines has released footage of the process of storing their fleet of aircraft, now grounded at Brussels Airport. Each A330 takes about 400 man hours to store and the airline’s Maintenance and Engineering teams meticulously follow Airbus’ instructions to ensure they’re properly and appropriately parked up. Thirty employees are now working, full-time performing weekly inspections and turning the aircraft wheels every day to ensure even wearing, despite the weight of the aircraft.

© 2020 Brussels Airlines

UPDATE: 10 APRIL 16:00

Airlines continue to reduce services and make other savings, while Stansted has opened a testing centre and repatriation flights are planned for stranded travellers in India.

UPDATE: 9 APRIL 12:00 NOON

As airlines reduce their schedules further, Airbus has reacted by cutting planned production. Meanwhile, Marriott Bonvoy joins the increasing number of travel providers taking decisions to protect and extend earned status.

UPDATE: 8 APRIL 15:00

Airlines continue to adapt schedules and aircraft, while an airport in London opens up a drive-through coronavirus testing facility.

UPDATE: 7 APRIL 15:00

Airlines and airports are taking further measures to combat Covid-19, while Google and Etihad have announced technology advances.

UPDATE: 6 APRIL 11:00

Airlines have been told to give prompt refunds, more airlines reduce flight schedules and extend policies, rescue flights from India commence, one UK airport bucks the European trend and robots are deployed to help with cleaning…

UPDATE: 4 APRIL 12:00

Airlines and hotel companies continue to make changes to their schedules and services in reaction to decreased demand in the light of the coronavirus outbreak.

UPDATE: 3 APRIL 16:00

Airports Council International has issued a gloomy prediction for the length of the air travel crisis, but airlines, car hire companies and even museums have released better news.

UPDATE: 2 APRIL 11:45

Airlines continue to announce changes, cuts and suspensions as they continue to battle the effect of the coronavirus outbreak.

UPDATE: 1 APRIL 11:30

British, Chinese, Philippine and Singapore airlines adjust schedules, including routes to and from London, while the Indian Government launches an online resource for stranded foreign nationals and Virgin Australia donates toilet paper to charity:

UPDATE: 31 MARCH 15:00

More travel providers have suspended and reduced services and further restrictions have been announced:

UPDATE: 26 MARCH 09:15

Airlines and airports worldwide have continued to suspend and limit services, including:

UPDATE: 24 MARCH 16:00

Airlines, cities and national governments have applied further restrictions:

Meanwhile, in India:

But, yet again, there are some, small pieces of good news:

UPDATE: 20 MARCH 10:00

Several more governments have issued cross-border and internal movement restrictions:

  • Australia and New Zealand have barred foreign nationals from entering the country.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has issued a nationwide, 0700-2100 curfew on Sunday.
  • Malaysia is on a movement control order until 31 March.
  • The State of California has started a lockdown, which will remain in place until further notice.

Airlines and other travel providers have announced more suspensions and cancellations:

But there is also some news that is more positive:

UPDATE: 19 MARCH 09:00

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued an Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice. The FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel

As the Covid-19 outbreak continues, more travel suppliers have released information about their short-term plans.

But there’s also some good news:

In Venice, the city’s canals are reported to have cleared up for the first time in many years due to the drop in visitors.

UPDATE: 17 MARCH 11:05

Last night, the European Commission proposed a ban on travel to the European Union. This was covered on the GTM website, here.

Meanwhile, a number of travel providers have made further announcements, including:

UPDATE: 16 MARCH 11:00

The impact of the Covid-19 outbreak continues to be seen across airlines. Aer Lingus and Delta have released statements aimed to reduce the volume of calls to their call centres. While British Airways has warned of potential job cuts.

Several more airlines have announced reductions in their services:

  • Air New Zealand will reduce its long-haul capacity by 85% per cent over the coming months.
  • American Airlines will implement “a phased suspension of additional long-haul international flights from the US” from today.
  • Emirates has suspended flights between Dubai and Italy.
  • Finnair will cut capacity by 90%.
  • Low-cost carrier Jet 2 has suspended all flights to Spain.
  • Low-cost carrier Norwegian has announced it will ground 40% of its long-haul fleet.
  • SAS has announced it will temporarily halt “most of its traffic” from today.

However, some airlines have made more positive announcements:

UPDATE: 15 MARCH 12:00

Further to the announcement that the United States has extended its travel ban (see below), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its travel advice for the United States, as follows:

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the USA, due to restrictions put in place by the US government with effect from 03:59 GMT 17 March in response to the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) 

UPDATE: 14 MARCH 17:00

President Trump and Vice President Pence have extended the United States Schengen-area travel ban to include the United Kingdom and Repulic of Ireland. Please see this breaking news story.

UPDATE: 13 MARCH 15:00

The travel industry continues to react to the coronavirus outbreak. An increaesing number of airlines are suspending services reflecting reduced demand, while several new travel restrictions have been put in place.

The following airlines have recently announced suspensions of service:

Some airlines have introduced relaxation to rules regarding change fees and cancellation fees:

Meanwhile, some governments have introduced increased visa restrictions:

  • India has suspended all tourist visas and e-visas.
  • Thailand has suspended granting of visas on arrival to nationals of Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu.
  • The United States has imposed a temporary travel ban for travellers from 26 European countries.
  • Vietnam has suspended visa-free travel for people from the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

UPDATE: 10 MARCH 12:00

Rail companies and airlines have announced further suspensions of services, fee waivers and details of cleaning and disinfection regimes. These include:

  • Amtrak issues guidance, waives fees and suspends New York-DC service – Amtrak has issued customer guidance and advice on preventative measures; waived change and cancellation fees on all tickets purchased before 30 April; and suspended its non-stop route between New York and Washington DC.
  • Cathay Pacific suspends Japan service – All Cathay Pacific flights between Hong Kong and Fukuoka, Nagoya, Sapporo, and Tokyo Haneda are suspended until 28 March.
  • Emirates announces enhanced cleaning and disinfection and fee waivers – Emirates has announced enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures on all aircraft from Dubai and a newly-introduced waiver policy for all booked tickets issued until 31 March 2020.
  • Lufthansa Group plans 50% flight reductionsLufthansa Group has announced a plan to reduce its number of flights across the group by 50% and to examine the extent to which its entire A380 fleet can be temporarily decommissioned.
  • Qantas cuts international flights and grounds eight A380s – The Qantas Group has announced cuts to its international network which will see a 23% reduction in capacity until mid-September.

UPDATE: 6 MARCH 12:00

More airlines have announced cancellations, schedule changes and restrictions due to the on-going Covid-19 outbreak. These include:

  • Aeroflot suspends flights to Hong Kong Aeroflot will temporarily suspend flights from Moscow to Hong Kong amid growing fears over the spread of the coronavirus.
  • American Airlines suspends flights to Seoul American has suspended its daily operation between Seoul Incheon Airport and Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
  • British Airways to waive flight change fees British Airways has announced it will waive flight change fees for customers who book until 16 March.
  • Delta suspends JFK-Milan Delta Air Lines has suspended its daily route between New York JFK and Milan Malpensa amid global concern over the spread of the coronavirus. The service is set to resume on 1 May. Delta’s daily flights from JFK and Atlanta to Rome remain unaffected.
  • Delta cuts Japan flights Delta Air Lines will reduce its weekly flying schedule to Japan until 30 April and suspend its summer seasonal service between Seattle and Osaka this year.
  • Delta waives change fees for bookings in March Delta Air Lines will waive change fees for all flights booked between 1 March and 31 March to any destinations the airline serves.
  • Finnair announces China cancellations and more frequency reductions Finnair will cancel all flights to mainland China (Guangzhou, Nanjing, Beijing Capital, Beijing Daxing, Shanghai and Xi’an) until 30 April 30. Daily flights to Seoul will be suspended from 9 March to 16 April. Throughout April it will fly to Hong Kong once daily rather than twice daily. It will also reduce its Osaka route from 12 to 10 weekly frequencies from 29 March to 24 October.
  • Finnair suspends all flights between Helsinki and Milan Finnair flights between Helsinki and Milan will be suspended between 9 March and 7 April, following an updated travel advisory from the Finnish Foreign Ministry on travel to Milan.
  • KLM cancels flights to Hong Kong and extends China flight suspensions KLM has adjusted its flights to mainland China and Hong Kong. KLM has suspended its services to Beijing and Shanghai until 28 March and to Chengdu, Hangzhou and Xiamen until 3 May. KLM is also offering flights to Hong Kong every other day instead of daily flights until 3 May.
  • Lufthansa Group airlines to suspend flights to Israel The Lufthansa Group has announced that all flights to Israel will be suspended from 8 March until 28 March due to an Israeli government travel ban.
  • Norwegian cuts transatlantic services Norwegian says it will cancel a total of 22 long-haul flights between 28 March and 5 May. Affected routes include London-New York (where the three daily departures will be reduced to two on some days), and services from Rome to Los Angeles, Boston and New York.
  • Vietnam Airlines suspends all South Korea flights Vietnam Airlines said it will temporarily suspend all flights between Vietnam and South Korea starting 5 March.
  • Virgin Atlantic waives flight change fees for March bookings Virgin Atlantic has announced it will not charge passengers a fee for changing flights for travel booked from Wednesday 4 March until Tuesday 31 March.

UPDATE: 2 MARCH 12:00

Several airlines have announced updates and changes due to the on-going Covid-19 outbreak. Here is a summary of some of the latest announcements:

  • British Airways reduces flights to Italy, Seoul and Singapore British Airways is “merging” a number of flights to Italy, Singapore and Seoul, as it reacts to a fall in demand called by coronavirus.
  • American Airlines suspends flights to Milan American Airlines has announced it is suspending flights to and from Milan, Italy from both New York (JFK) and Miami (MIA) from March until 25 April 2020.
  • Korean Air cuts international flights Korean Air has suspended and reduced flights to a number of international destinations due to the outbreak in South Korea.
  • Delta to cut flights to Seoul until end of April Delta is temporarily reducing flights it operates between the US and Seoul Incheon Airport.
  • Juneyao Airlines to delay the launch of three Europe routes Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines will delay the launch of three new transcontinental routes from Shanghai to Dublin, Manchester and Reykjavik, all with a stop in Helsinki, which it initially planned to launch in late March this year.
  • Lufthansa Group to cut short-haul operations by “up to 25 per cent” Lufthansa Group says it will cut its short-haul operations in the coming weeks, “As a result of the current situation caused by the accelerated spread of the coronavirus”.
  • easyJet to halt recruitment and offer unpaid leave easyJet said that it had seen “a significant softening of demand and load factors into and out of our Northern Italian bases”, as well “slower demand across our other European markets”. The airline said that as a result it would be cancelling “some flights, particularly those into and out of Italy, while continuing to monitor the situation and adapting our flying programme to support demand”.

UPDATE: 26 FEBRUARY 14:01

The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) has provided updated general advice for foreign travel and how individuals can help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 outbreak and specific advice for those travelling to category one locations (Wuhan city and Hubei Province (China); Iran; Daegu or Cheongdo (South Korea); and any Italian town under containment measures) or category two locations (Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, north Italy, Japan, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Myanmar, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam).

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office continues to publish travel advice to China South Korea, Italy and other destinations via its public pages.

The Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England have published the latest public advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) here and will update this page with the latest situation in the UK at 14:00 every day, until further notice.

UPDATE: 7 FEBRUARY 13:30

Virgin Atlantic has issued the following advice:

Due to the ongoing situation with the Coronavirus the following Governments have made the decision to restrict entry for foreign visitors who have travelled to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau).

Customers due to travel to:

  • Antigua or Barbuda who have been to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 28 days, will not be allowed to travel

Antiguan nationals are exempt from the restriction however will be subject to quarantine for 14 days on arrival if they have travelled to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 28 days 

  • Montego Bay Jamaica who have been to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days, will not be allowed to travel

Jamaican nationals are exempt from the restriction however will be subject to quarantine for 14 days on arrival if they have travelled to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days

  • Tel Aviv Israel who have been to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days, will not be allowed to travel

Israeli nationals are exempt from the restriction however may be subject to quarantine on arrival if they have travelled to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days

  • Mumbai, Delhi India who have been to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days, will not be allowed to travel

Indian nationals are exempt from the restriction however may be subject to quarantine on arrival if they have travelled to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days

  • St. Lucia who have been to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days, will not be allowed to travel

St Lucia nationals are exempt from the restriction however will be subject to quarantine for 14 days on arrival if they have travelled to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days

  • Grenada who have been to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days, will not be allowed to travel

Grenada nationals are exempt from the restriction however will be subject to quarantine for 14 days on arrival if they have travelled to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days

  • Trinidad and Tobago who have been to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days, will not be allowed to travel

Trinidad and Tobago nationals are exempt from the restriction however may be subject to quarantine on arrival if they have travelled to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the last 14 days.

Contact your GTM Account Manager for details of any refunds due on flights booked.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office continues to offer the following advice:

1. The FCO advise against all travel to Hubei Province due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.

2. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao). The British Consulates-General in Wuhan and Chongqing are currently closed. If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be at heightened risk.

3. The Chinese government continues to impose further restrictions on movement within China in response to the coronavirus outbreak. These restrictions include the closure of some provincial highways and inter-city high speed rail, tight control on entry and exit to villages and townships across the country, and restrictions on movement within some provinces, cities and municipalities including Chongqing, Zhejiang and Anhui. Some airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have announced a suspension of flights to and from mainland China. Other commercial airlines are still operating, but it may become harder to access departure options over the coming weeks.

4. A number of countries have announced restrictions on entry by travellers from China in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Given the fast-changing situation, you should check the latest FCO travel advice (including entry requirements) for your destination and anywhere you are transiting through, and check with your airline before you travel.

UPDATE: 30 JANUARY 16:10

British Airways has issued a customer update confirming the planned end date of their current cancellations, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The airline confirms that Shanghai and Beijing flights will be cancelled for all dates up to and including 29 February 2020. Flights to Hong Kong are unaffected.


British Airways issued a customer statement on 30 January, providing confirmation of the dates during which flights to mainland China will be cancelled.

UPDATE: 29 JANUARY 14:30

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued the following, additional information for travellers to China:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to Hubei Province due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. If you’re in this area and able to leave, you should do so.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao). The Chinese government continue to impose further restrictions on movement within China in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Some airlines, including British Airways, have suspended flights to and from mainland China. Other commercial airlines are still operating, but it may become harder over the coming weeks for those who wish to leave China to do so. If you feel that you may want to leave China soon, you should consider making plans to do so before any further restrictions may be imposed.

Due to increasing travel restrictions and difficulty accessing medical assistance, the FCO is working to make an option available for British nationals to leave Hubei Province. This may happen quickly and with short notice. If you’re a British national in Hubei Province and need assistance, contact our 24/7 number +86 (0) 10 8529 6600 or the FCO in London on (+44) (0)207 008 1500. If you have registered your desire to leave, you will be contacted once arrangements are confirmed.

The FCO has published the following PDF document, setting out the advised travel restrictions in place across China (opens in external site)
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5e306fbe40f0b62c4b0f0aba/FCO_440_-_China_Travel_Advice_Ed3__WEB__pdf_200128.pdf

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued detailed travel advice for China. Please visit the FCO website for full details.

UPDATE: 27 JANUARY 20:45

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued the following, additional information for travellers to China:

The latest information is available on the FCO website, here:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china

UPDATE: 27 JANUARY 09:28

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued update travel advice:

We are working to make available an option for British nationals to leave Hubei province. If you are a British national in Hubei Province and require assistance, please contact:

· our 24/7 number +86 (0) 10 8529 6600
· or the FCO (+44) (0)207 008 1500

We continue to monitor developments closely and are in close touch with the Chinese authorities. The safety and security of British nationals is always our primary concern.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china

The TravelHealthPro website has further information on the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/49/china#CIoutBreaks


Following media reports of an outbreak of a new virus, we have compiled a number of resources that provide the latest advice for business travellers.

About Wuhan novel coronavirus


Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less-severe disease, such as the common cold, and others causing more severe disease such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronaviruses.

The source of the Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV) outbreak has yet to be determined. Preliminary investigations identified environmental samples positive for WN-CoV in Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan City.

Although evidence is still emerging, information to date indicates human-to-human transmission is occurring. 

Further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-background-information/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-epidemiology-virology-and-clinical-features (Public Health England website).

Travel advice

On 22 January 2020, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office issued advice against all but essential travel to Wuhan city, Hubei Province.

The FCO advice on travel to China can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china.

Coronavirus outbreak updates

Travel Health Pro continues to monitor coronavirus from its initial reports on 31 December 2019 and continues to do so as the virus evolves.

The latest information from Travel Health Pro is available here: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/updates.php?base=2896.

Enhanced monitoring

Enhanced monitoring has been put in place from all direct flights from Wuhan to the UK. The enhanced monitoring package includes a number of measures that will help to provide advice to travellers if they feel unwell.

For further information and the latest advice on travel to China, see the Public Health England page, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-and-avian-flu-advice-for-travel-to-china.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, Public Health England, said:

This is a new and rapidly evolving situation where information on cases and the virus is being gathered and assessed daily.  Based on the available evidence, the current risk to the UK is considered low. We are working with the WHO and other international partners, have issued advice to the NHS and are keeping the situation under constant review.

The risk to visitors to Wuhan is moderate reflecting an increase in the number of cases being identified in China and evidence that the virus has limited spread from person to person. If you are travelling to the area, you should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms. Individuals should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK. They should phone ahead before attending any health services and mention their recent travel to the city.

A Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesperson said:

In light of the latest medical information, including reports of some person-to-person transmission, and the Chinese authorities’ own advice, we are now advising against all but essential travel to Wuhan.

The safety and security of British nationals is always our primary concern, and we advise British nationals travelling to China to remain vigilant and check our travel advice on gov.uk.

Walsh spells out IAG coronavirus safety plans

Willie Walsh has told a committee of MPs his plans for ensuring the safety of passengers and crew while the coronavirus epidemic continues.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, gave evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee yesterday (Monday, 11 May)
Image: StuBaileyPhoto/Wikimedia-Commons/parliament.uk

Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG) was facing MPs gathering evidence for the Transport Select Committee.

He explained,

There is very little evidence of any passenger to passenger contact spreading of the coronavirus.  That’s not to say people on flights have not got off and subsequently tested positive and spread it as a result of that. 

Walsh went on to explain the measures IAG – comprising British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Level and Vueling – will take:

We will take all measures and we are working with regulators to implement what I hope will be a common system across – let’s start with – Europe, and hopefully globally, will take measures that need to be taken at airports, on board the aircraft and to ensure that all of the responsible authorities are able to track and trace everybody who has come off an aircraft to ensure that, if there is anybody that tests positive, that they can be tracked.

We are working with a number of regulators.  EASA, the European Safety Agency, will be publishing a draft document some time this week which will set out the regulations that they will propose to the EU27.  I expect that to be a comprehensive document which will deal with all aspects.  We will follow any regulation that is introduced to ensure that people can be confident that it is safe to climb aboard an aircraft in this environment.

HRH The Prince of Wales sees how British Airways is investing in sustainability

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has toured British Airways’ engineering base in Cardiff, seeing first-hand the changes, large and small, which the airline is making as it works towards more sustainable flying.

In front of more than 400 BA staff, His Royal Highness was shown the nose-to-tail focus on sustainability from the heavy-weight investments in new fuel-efficient aircraft, to the smallest detail of using a light-weight solder in aircraft repairs, bringing down the carbon footprint of each journey.

British Airways is forensically assessing its entire operation to find the little changes which add up to a big change of direction.


His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was shown around a Boeing 787-9, one of the world’s most efficient aircraft. British Airways is investing in a further 73 fuel-efficient and quieter aircraft to arrive before 2024.
  • Each First-Class duvet is now made from 19 recycled plastic bottles.
  • Replacing seats on short-haul aircraft with new lighter weight versions saves 9,100 tonnes of CO2 per year. That’s equivalent to more than 350 return flights from London to Berlin.
  • British Airways now taxis to the runway using a single engine taxi on short haul flights, saving 3,700 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to more than 100 return flights from London to Madrid.
  • The airline’s lighter cabin trolleys save 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year; that’s a saving equivalent to more than 300 return flights from London to Paris.
  • BA now retract landing lights earlier on our A320 fleet, burning less fuel and saving 8,000 tonnes of CO2 per year; a saving equivalent to 150 return flights from London to Athens.
  • Plastic swizzle sticks have been replaced with bamboo versions, saving 45 tonnes of plastic per year.
  • The plastic wraps on bedding have been replaced by paper bands. That adds up to more than 19 million pieces of plastic which have been removed.

British Airways’ Chairman and Chief Executive, Alex Cruz, who led the tour, said:

It has been an honour to showcase our work in this area to His Royal Highness today. Every decision we make at British Airways now starts with a simple question: what does that mean for our sustainability aspiration? We’re now offsetting carbon emissions on all our flights within the UK, and were the first airline group to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We’ve got a lot of work to do, but keeping an eye on the detail as well as the bigger picture is the only way to get there.

Louise Evans, Director of Communications & Corporate Responsibility said:

From new, quieter and more fuel efficient aircraft to sustainable swizzle sticks that eliminate the use of single use plastic, we’re carrying out a huge transformation of the way we fly.

His Royal Highness opened this engineering base 26 years ago, and we were delighted to welcome him back to our engineering base here in Cardiff so he can see for himself the steps we are taking to a sustainable future.

Contact your GTM Account Manager the next time you plan to fly on British Airways.


GTM overcomes Italian airline’s failure

The financing issues of airlines are causing some headaches for passengers wanting to fly between the UK and Italy. But, at Global Travel Management, we can offer a huge range of choice, so if one airline ceases operations, we can continue to find the best-value, most efficient alternatives.

This week Air Italy announced that the airline will be placed into liquidation and that all passengers booked onto flights after 25 February will be refunded or booked onto alternative flights. The announcement confirmed also that flights until 25 February will be operated by other carriers.

Despite the loss of Air Italy, there are still hundreds of regular, scheduled flights between UK and Italian airports, all of which can be booked for customers of GTM. These include British Airways, Alitalia, easyJet and Ryanair.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of GTM said

It always a difficult time when a travel supplier goes into liquidation. We hope that the airline’s staff can secure positions with other airlines as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we continue to offer the widest possible choice of flights from the UK to Italy. In addition, our staff can even provide advice on how to travel between the two countries without flying, by making use of Europe’s high-speed rail network.

Passengers booking flights through GTM benefit from protections from national and international laws as well as industry organisations.

Paul explained:

If customers are concerned about their flight bookings, we encourage them to speak to their GTM Account Manager who can advice on alternative travel plans. And, if an airline were to go out of business, the Account Manager can provide information on which travel industry compensation schemes they can make use of, such as ATOL, EU261 and the Consumer Credit Act.

Please contact your GTM Account Manager when you next need to fly between the UK and Italy.