This Week in Aviation – 26th July

Another week has passed and yet more bad news continues to flood in, with the Coronavirus pandemic taking centre stage in almost every news story. We’ve seen some positives and some negatives this week including early retirements and further quarantines but also routes coming back to life (albeit slowly!). Without further ado let’s take a look.

Government Removes Air Bridges to Spain

Due to a sudden spike in coronavirus cases in Spain, the UK government opted to end air bridges to the popular holiday destination on Sunday – meaning any passengers returning from a Spanish airport will be required to quarantine upon their arrival in the UK.

This is obviously bad news for UK airlines, and no doubt some may well dispute the regulations – with flights only recently returning between the UK and Spain and demand just about beginning to pick up again.

In response to the removal of the air bridges, TUI have cancelled all flights to mainland Spain until August 9th. As of now, British Airways, easyJet, Jet2 and Ryanair all plan to continue services – even if demand may suddenly plummet over the next weeks.


KLM Latest Airline to Announce 747 Retirement

KLM this week announced the early retirement of their 747 fleet is now scheduled for October.

The dutch carrier have operated the Jumbo Jet since 1971 – almost fifty years of service. Although the aircraft aren’t set to be retired until October, it’s highly unlikely they will be seen again in regular scheduled passenger service.

KLM are just the latest of a long list of airlines retiring the iconic 747 early – including Virgin Atlantic, Qantas and British Airways. No doubt many more carriers will soon be announcing the same as demand continues to be severely affected by Covid.


British Airways Bring Back Gatwick-US Routes

After having announced previously the return of Gatwick operations to the Caribbean, a return has now been scheduled for US routes from Gatwick for the British flag carrier.

The future for the airline at the South London airport seemed bleak several months ago as they announced the suspension of their operations there – but things are now on the mend as routes to Tampa, Las Vegas and Orlando are now set to come back in September 2020.

Whilst BA’s Gatwick operation won’t be anywhere near what it was pre-pandemic, it’s still great to see that at least some important long haul routes are back on the agenda, and if all goes well many key services may also be making a comeback in the not too distant future.


Wizz Start a Range of New Routes from Luton

Wizz announced this week a range of new routes to both Spain and Greece from London Luton airport.

This includes Alicante, Ibiza, Valencia, Mahon and Thira. These routes are all set to launch in August, and were announced alongside a rather bizarre ad featuring Gemma Collins.

It does however remain to be seen whether the Spanish routes will be affected by the latest government announcement regarding Spanish quarantines – although Wizz continue to expand and add routes to their network despite the issues many other airlines are facing.


British Airways and BALPA Come to an Agreement

After months of discussions regarding pilot jobs and job losses throughout the pandemic, British Airways see to have finally reached an agreement with BALPA, the UK pilots union.

The deal is reportedly set to see around 270 pilots made redundant, alongside pay cuts of up to 20% for any flight crew kept on the books.

This is clearly sad news for all British Airways pilots and the industry as a whole – but is definitely a compromise on much higher job losses originally anticipated at the start of this chaos. Time will tell how helpful it will be in helping the airline get back on their feet and stabilise their finances.


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That’s all from us this week at The Final Approach! Join us for more updates next week, and don’t forget to check out our social media pages for the top headlines every day!

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I'm an avid writer and airport fanatic. I'm currently studying Airline and Airport Management at Bucks New University and hope to work in airport operations in the future.

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