TUI, the largest travel operator in the United Kingdom, has announced the resumption of flights between three British airports and eight tourist destinations in Greece and Spain beginning on July 11. The news is understood to suggest that travel corridors between UK and the two Mediterranean countries will finally be reestablished after the coronavirus pandemic.
TUI’s commercial director, Richard Sofer, told the PA news agency that the company has absolute confidence that the government will be lifting the 14-day quarantine rule for the destinations in time for July travel.
“Due to the size of our organization, we’ve been able to have a presence in each of those Government conversations through our aviation team or through the senior members of the UK business. We’re well-informed (about) where those discussions are.
“Obviously many of those conversations are confidential but that gives us great confidence to open up a small programme to a couple of really key countries, eight key gateways for us,” Sofer said.
In phase one of TUI’s planned restart, from July 11-24, up to 8,300 vacationers could travel on up to 44 flights per week to Ibiza, Palma, Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes, Lanzarote and Tenerife, the announcement notes. By the end of July, additional flights, to a total 19 destinations from five UK airports, could be added, subject to Government advice.
“We’re really excited to be talking about taking people on holiday again,” Andrew Flintham, Managing Director of TUI UK & Ireland adds. “We’re of course still waiting on the Government to change its travel advice but we’ve been working really hard behind the scenes and we’re ready to start taking holidaymakers away again in just a few weeks’ time.
“Initially, we are focusing on destinations where we anticipate air bridges being in place, such as Greece and Spain. But we know many Brits are eager to travel again, and we have ambitious plans to rapidly increase our programme as soon as possible, to offer even more choice when it comes to holidaying this summer.”
To prepare for the restart, TUI has already implemented a range of new health and safety measures to protect both customers and employees. Face masks will be mandatory on board during flights, while state-of-the art, hospital standard air filtering systems will be installed to keep fresh air flowing through the cabin every few minutes. Customers will be advised to remain seated as much as possible, with cabin crew managing bathroom queues.
“We appreciate that some people may be feeling apprehensive towards travel and have questions about what a post-Covid holiday will be like, which is why we’ve introduced our new TUI Holiday Promise. It provides holidaymakers with five guarantees we’ve made to keep them safe abroad, while reassuring them that we’re still providing relaxing and enjoyable holidays,” Flintham explained.
“If a destination has a quarantine in place, we won’t go there. If local restrictions or measures in place at hotels or resorts significantly impact the original holiday experience you booked, we won’t take you there,” he added.