London – Hopes for holidays within the UK were given a boost after EasyJet unveiled plans to resume domestic flights from June 15.
The budget airline is to restart routes from 22 airports across Europe, but passengers and cabin crew will be required to wear masks and no food or drink will be served.
In Britain, EasyJet will relaunch flights between Gatwick, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Belfast. The only international service from the UK will be Gatwick to Nice, but more will be reintroduced as lockdown measures are eased. On the Continent, services will begin again between Portugal, Switzerland and Spain.
EasyJet said middle seats will not be left empty, but passengers will be provided with hand sanitisers and disinfectant wipes. The airline said its aircraft would also be subject to ‘enhanced cleaning and disinfection’.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “These measures will remain in place for as long as is needed to ensure customers and crew are able to fly safely.”
The announcement comes after Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the government was working on an “ambitious plan” to enable staycations as early as July.
He added: “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.”
Lundgren added: “These are small and carefully planned steps that we are taking to gradually 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.”
Any relaunch of international routes could lead to problems for holidaymakers battling for refunds. Under EU laws, customers can get their money back only if their flight is cancelled.
Ryanair is planning to relaunch 40 percent of its flying schedule in July, while British Airways is due to make a ‘meaningful return’ to service in the same month.