As Airlines considerably reduce their schedules amid the coronavirus lockdown, it is important to know that a number of carriers are still operating to support those travelling for essential reasons, repatriations home and to facilitate business sectors still working such as the Marine and offshore industries and domestic markets.
Until airlines return back to broader schedules in the future we will be providing you with a regular roundup of airline plans and activity, whether it is to prepare for life after the lockdown, or their current plans based on operating a limited capacity and/or reduced service. Here are some of the latest updates:
Aer Lingus like many airlines are temporarily reducing their schedules between North America and Ireland. However, guests can use their services for essential travel as the airline continues to operate a reduced number of flights to and from Dublin and New York (JFK), Boston and Chicago.
EasyJet plans to keep the middle seat on its planes empty to allow for social distancing once the COVID-19 lockdown has been lifted. EasyJet state that passengers would sit next to the window or the aisle in a three-seat configuration. The airline aim to implement these measures because they do not expect their aircrafts to be full immediately after the lockdown is lifted.
Emirates have become the first airline to conduct on-site rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers. Passengers last week on services to Tunisia were all tested for COVID-19 before departing from Dubai. Blood tests were conducted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and results were available within 10 minutes. This test was done at the airlines group Check-in area at Dubai International Airport.
Etihad currently have 80 per cent of its passenger fleet on the ground, however, the airline has embarked on the biggest aircraft maintenance programme in its history. Etihad Engineering, the group’s Engineering Maintenance Repair team is performing maintenance work on 96 passenger aircraft including 29 Airbus A320 and A321s, 10 Airbus A380s, 38 Boeing 787s, and 19 Boeing 777-300ERs. Etihad Airways plans to operate scheduled flights on a reduced network from May 1 to June 30, subject to UAE government imposed travel restrictions being lifted on passenger travel.
KLM in recent weeks have operated hundreds of repatriation flights, reuniting travellers with their loved ones. KLM are trying to operate as many flights as they can by offering a skeleton network serving 25 intercontinental and 32 European destinations. Given the high level of uncertainty KLM have launched a real-time flight status checker on its website, enabling passengers to see all the available flights to and from Amsterdam.
Virgin Atlantic are continuing to operate Cargo flights only to transport key medical supplies into the UK.
Please note this is a regularly changing picture therefore please always check with your consultant at Good Travel Management for the most up to date information.