TUI was among one of the first firms to stop flying when the lockdown was first announced in March. The travel company said that the “vast majority” of travel operations would be suspended until further notice, including package holidays, hotels and cruises. TUI said at the time: “This temporary suspension is aimed at contributing to global governmental efforts to mitigate the effects of the spread of COVID-19.”
When can we go on TUI holidays again?
TUI has announced it is planning to resume flights to main holiday destinations in Europe by the end of June.
Cruises still remain unavailable until July, at the earliest.
TUI chief executive Fritz Joussen told Rheinische Post in Germany: “We are planning to start flying again from the end of June, in time for the summer vacation.”
Mr Joussen said the Spanish island of Mallorca, a holiday favourite for Brits, would be likely to be the first destination.
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The CEO added: “We want to resume flight traffic to Mallorca from mid-to-end of June. Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Bulgaria are also well-prepared.”
TUI said it was trying very hard to resume normal operations and had worked out a number of additional measures to ensure the safety of passengers and staff.
It has a 10-point plan of guidance on reopening safely, including limited food services, restrictions on some games and sports and longer opening times at restaurants.
The holiday firm said: “The health and well-being of both customers and colleagues remain paramount and we are assessing how we can responsibly adapt to measures so that leisure travel can resume.
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“We are preparing new procedures for the airport process, onboard our aircraft, in hotels and on our ships, so that any social distancing recommendations or guidelines can be implemented, without compromising customer enjoyment and travel experience.”
Mr Joussen added: “The demand for holidays is still very high. People want to travel. Our integrated business model allows us to start travel activities as soon as this is possible again. The season starts later but could last longer.
“For 2020, we will also reinvent the holiday: new destinations, changed travel seasons, new local offers and more digitalisation.”
It comes as fellow flight carrier EasyJet announced that it will resume flights on June 15.
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The budget airline said flights will restart on mainly domestic routes, between 22 European airports.
In Britain, Gatwick, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Belfast are among the first to reopen.
EasyJet added that a number of new safety measures, including mandatory face masks, will be implemented to ensure the safety of crew and passengers.
Food will not be sold on flights and disinfection wipes and sanitiser will be made readily available to passengers.
EasyJet CEO Johan Lungren said: “I am really pleased that we will be returning to flying in the middle of June. 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 to match demand, while also ensuring we are operating efficiently and on routes that our customers want.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers remains our highest priority, which is why we are implementing a number of measures to enhance safety at each part of the journey, from disinfecting the aircraft to requiring customers and crew to wear masks.
“These measures will remain in place for as long as is needed to ensure customers and crew are able to fly safely as the world continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The International Transport Association (IATA) said that estimated global losses from the impact of COVID-19 have risen to £253billion – 25 percent more than previously forecasted.
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