EasyJet expands its flight schedule as demand takes-off despite COVID-19 uncertainty

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 4th Aug 2020) London, Uk – –

The budget airline expands its schedule for the rest of holiday season as a result of bookings performing better than predicted.

Greater than expected demand has led easyJet to increase the number of flights it is offering over the summer, despite continuing uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.

The budget airline expanded its schedule to 40% of normal capacity between July and September rather than the 30% previously expected.

The carrier said it has seen strong demand from UK holidaymakers flying to GreeceTurkey and Croatia.

In response to the upbeat move, the company's shares, which have lost more than 60% of their value since the start of the year, leapt 8%.

While the government's decision to remove Spain from its quarantine exemption list in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases had reduced the number of new bookings being made, most customers with existing plans were going ahead with them, according to the airline's boss.

Criticising the UK's approach towards so-called travel corridors, chief executive Johan Lundgren argued the policy was “not specific enough”.

He called for it to be based on regions rather than countries, pointing out parts of Spain had far lower rates of infection than some areas of the UK.

Figures released by the airline show in the three months to the end of June, easyJet made just £7m in revenue as a result of its fleet, like other carriers, being grounded due to the coronavirus.

In the two weeks from the middle of June when it started flying again, it carried 117,000 passengers in the 132,000 seats available.Why do UK and Spain disagree over quarantine?

Mr Lundgren said: “I am really encouraged that we have seen higher than expected levels of demand with load factor of 84% in July with destinations like Faro and Nice remaining popular with customers.

“Our bookings for the remainder of the summer are performing better than expected and as a result, we have decided to expand our schedule over the fourth quarter to fly circa 40% of capacity.

“This increased flying will allow us to connect even more customers to family or friends and to take the breaks they have worked hard for.”

He also said the airline had urged the government to look at deciding quarantine-exempt travel corridors on “a regional basis”.

Mr Lundgren said: “You see parts of Spain – the Balearics and the Canary Islands – who have significantly lower rates of infections than other parts of Spain and also in the UK.”

Italy’s $1 Billion Marble Mountains

Source: BI

A slab of Carrara marble can cost up to $400 per square meter. The luxury stone comes the Apuan Alps, a mountain range in northern Tuscany that stretches for 58 km and reaches 2,000 meters high. The Carrara quarries have produced more marble than any other place on Earth. The market as a whole is worth over €1 billion ($1.1 billion) and produces 4 million tons of marble every year, with 13,000 people involved.

==

Waking Up In The Most Expensive Hotel Room In Bel-Air

Source: CNBC

See what it’s like to wake up in the most expensive hotel room at the super exclusive Hotel Bel-Air. The luxury hotel has a giant presidential suite that’s probably one of the most lavish in all of Los Angeles. The mega-suite includes a secret paparazzi-proof entrance, a giant private pool, grand piano, outdoor hot tub, and if you want the full VIP experience: Chef Wolf Gang Puck can serve you dinner for ten in your suite’s private dining room. After showing you what it’s like to wake up in the super expensive VIP suite we’ll also give you a look inside the hotel’s LEAST expensive room and reveal three things you can do here that are way less expensive and you can do them even if you’re NOT a guest.

Aston Martin Luxury car brand losses soar to £227m in first half of 2020

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 29th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Luxury car brand’s sales down 41% after coronavirus pandemic shuts dealerships

Aston Martin Lagonda’s losses surged to £227m in the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic closed the embattled UK luxury carmaker’s dealerships and prompted an executive clear-out.

The carmaker was also forced to restate its income statements over two years after detecting an accounting error that led it to overstate profitability in 2018 and 2019.

Aston Martin has endured a torrid 12 months, as heavy spending on a new factory for a new car, the DBX SUV, followed by the pandemic pushed it close to bankruptcy. Its main plant, at Gaydon, Warwickshire, is only due to resume manufacturing at the end of August, later than originally planned.

In January the billionaire fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll led a consortium that in effect took control of Aston Martin in a bailout shortly before the pandemic forced a deep drop in sales. Stroll has focused on restoring profitability at the carmaker, as well as firing Andy Palmer as chief executive and in his place installing Tobias Moers, the former boss of Mercedes-Benz’s performance division, AMG.

The pandemic meant that Aston Martin sold only 1,770 cars in the first six months of 2020, down 41% compared with 2019. It sold only one of its highly lucrative “special” cars, such as the £2.7m DB5 Goldfinger Continuation, which comes with a smokescreen emitter and fake tyre slashers and machine guns to mirror the car made famous by the James Bond film. Last year it sold 36.

The carmaker’s revenues plunged by 64% year on year to only £146m as dealerships around the world were forced to close.

Aston Martin was also forced to restate its income statements for 2018 and 2019 after overstating profits by £15.3m in 2019.

The new management found an error in the way the US region was recognising revenues that meant it counted payments to dealers and discounts for retail customers later than it should have done.

Stroll, who took the role of executive chairman, said it had been “a very intense and challenging six months” and the company pointed to more difficulties ahead. Reducing the number of cars at dealerships, a key aim of Stroll as he tries to restore Aston Martin’s air of exclusivity, will continue until 2021.

In its statement to the stock market, Aston Martin said: “Trading remains challenging in many markets and the pace of emergence from lockdown and consumer recovery varies significantly.”

Why RV Sales Are Booming

Source: CNBC

In the years that followed the financial crisis, sales of RVs began booming. Once considered a pretty dowdy way to travel, RVs have benefited from slick industry ad campaigns, low gas prices, and a renewed interest among Americans of all ages. Data indicate first-time buyers are pouring into RV dealerships and shows, looking for their own happy home on the road. But long-timers say new buyers need to do their research before buying, and understand what the RV life is really about.

Portugal still on quarantine list for holidaymakers

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 24th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Portugal remains off the list of countries that the government has exempted from quarantine restrictions.

In changes that apply to England, travellers from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines won't have to isolate.

It takes the list of countries that do not face travel restrictions into England to 80 nations.

The government also said it will update guidance weekly, meaning rules could change while people are away.

It said people should regularly check the advice. Previously, updates were provided every three weeks.

The guidance comes as infection rates begin to change across Europe.

On Friday, Norway announced that it was imposing a new 10-day quarantine on all travellers arriving from Spain after a spike in cases there at popular holiday resorts.

The latest data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed coronavirus infections in Spain had risen to 30.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Portugal's failure to make the exemption list will come as a huge blow.

Tourism is a major industry in the country and is popular with British holidaymakers, with almost three million UK visitors a year.

Aviation data analysts Cirium said there were 2,333 flights due to leave the UK for Portugal before the end of August.

‘Huge uncertainty'

Paul Charles, chief executive of the PC Agency, said it was a badly timed move by the government.

“The scale of those due to go there before end of August is enormous. The decision today plants huge uncertainty in the minds of those who are booked who will be looking for refunds and changes and most won't have a holiday. It's going to cause uproar for operators and industry.”

He added: “They are not prepared to open Portugal when situation is declining, but cases in Spain are soaring, with rapid rises in their case numbers.”

Major airlines call for joint US-European testing scheme

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 22nd July 2020) London, Uk – –

Major airlines have asked for a joint coronavirus testing programme, so that travel may resume between the US and Europe.

The owner of British Airways and United Airlines are among the carriers that have signed a letter to US and European Union leaders.

Currently travel between Europe and the US is largely barred.

Carriers are struggling to survive as the coronavirus pandemic has majorly disrupted global travel.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to US and European governments, major airline chief executives called for a US-EU testing programme for passengers making trans-Atlantic trips.

Signees of the letter include bosses of International Airlines Group (IAG) – which owns British Airways – American Airlines, United Airlines and Lufthansa.

“Given the unquestioned importance of trans-Atlantic air travel to the global economy as well as to the economic recovery of our businesses, we believe it is critical to find a way to re-open air services between the US and Europe,” the letter said.

It was sent to US Vice President Mike Pence and Ylva Johansson, the European commissioner for home affairs.

“We recognize that testing presents a number of challenges, however we believe that a pilot testing programme for the transatlantic market could be an excellent opportunity for government and industry to work together,” the letter added.

The EU doesn’t currently allow visits from US residents, although it has relaxed rules for non-essential travel from 15 countries with lower coronavirus infection rates.

The UK requires people arriving from the US to spend 14 days in self-imposed quarantine, while the US restricts travel by most passengers coming for Europe.

China wants testing

​China has also come out in favour of testing kits and wants passengers of inbound flights to provide negative Covid-19 test results before boarding.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) made the announcement on Tuesday as the government looks to further reduce the risk of imported coronavirus cases.

The airline industry is facing a huge challenge amid a severe downturn in passengers. Most major airlines have announced job cuts and staff furloughs, while some smaller players have collapsed.

Ryanair to cut three bases of operations in Germany as pressure on pilots increase to accept new pay deal

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue 21st, July 2020) London, Uk – –

The no-frills carrier threatens the futures of three bases in Germany as it piles pressure on pilots to accept a new pay deal.

Ryanair has taken aim at three bases of operation in Germany after pilots based in the country rejected proposed pay cuts.

The Ireland-based carrier, which has agreed new deals with UK-based pilots and cabin crew as it navigates the challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis, said it would shut its base at Frankfurt Hahn Airport from November.

A memo to German pilots also revealed that pilots there would receive details of their notice period this week.

The no-frills airline warned it was “likely” to close two further bases – at Berlin Tegel and Duesseldorf airports – following the summer season.

“We must move on with alternative measures to deliver savings, which regrettably will mean base closures and dismissals,” the email said.

There was no detail on how many jobs were under threat but it would be widely expected that both sides would come to an agreement to avert the closures.

The margin of the German pilots' rejection was small and recent experience, when Ryanair U-turned on plans to close down its Lauda subsidiary in Vienna, shows the airline is willing to back down when it gets what it wants.

The German Vereinigung Cockpit union had said in a statement before the base closure proposals were revealed that it had not given up hope of a deal.

“The employer would be well advised to get back to the negotiating table quickly now”, it said, though it maintained its opposition to the terms offered by Ryanair, saying the duration of the deal offered job security until March 2021 whereas pay cuts were demanded until 2024.

Black cowboys saddle up

Source:CBS

After the Civil War, black cowboys played a key role in settling the West, and their heritage is honored by African American cowboys and rodeo riders today. “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Michelle Miller talked with members of the Compton Cowboys, a Los Angeles group of riders who take to the streets of South Central on horseback; and with participants in the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, named for the famed African American Wild West Show star.

British Airways to retire entire 747 fleet after suffering sharp travel downturn

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 17th July 2020) London, Uk – –

British Airways has said it will retire all of its Boeing 747s as it suffers from the sharp travel downturn.

The UK airline is the world's largest operator of the jumbo jets, with 31 in the fleet.

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect,” a BA spokesman told the BBC.

Airlines across the world have been hit hard by coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

“It is unlikely our magnificent ‘queen of the skies' will ever operate commercial services for British Airways again due to the downturn in travel caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic,” the spokesman added.

BA, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), said the planes will all be retired with immediate effect. The 747s represent about 10% of BA's total fleet.

It had planned on retiring the planes in 2024 but has brought forward the date due to the downturn.

According to travel data firm Cirium there are about 500 747s still in service, of which 30 are actively flying passengers. More than 300 fly cargo and the remainder are in storage.

A luxury BA could no longer afford

Analysis by Theo Leggett

The Boeing 747 is beautiful, distinctive and has half a century of proud service behind it. But – as a passenger plane at least – it is also quite simply outdated.

A four-engine aircraft, it is far less efficient than modern twin-engine models, such as the Airbus A350, the 787 Dreamliner, or even the older Boeing 777 – all of which are cheaper to run.

Before the Covid-19 crisis, the writing was on the wall. Airlines such as Air France, Delta and United had already retired their fleets.

BA had planned to use them for another few years. But the crisis in the industry means a future in which there will be fewer passengers, fewer planes – and keeping costs down will be crucial.

So now the airline has decided the queen of the skies is a luxury it can no longer afford.

British Airways' predecessor BOAC first started flying 747s in the early 1970s. BA is currently flying the 747-400 version of the long-range aircraft.

It is currently the world's biggest operator of 747-400s and first took delivery of them in July 1989. Originally, the upper deck contained a lounge which was known as the “club in the sky”.

The British carrier added it would operate more flights on modern, more fuel-efficient planes such as its new Airbus A350s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

It expects them to help it achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Boeing's 747 helped democratise global air travel in the 1970s, and marked its 50-year flying anniversary in February 2019.

US-based Boeing signalled the end of the plane's production a year ago.

A wave of restructuring triggered by the virus outbreak is hitting airlines across the world, along with plane-makers and their suppliers. Thousands of job losses and furloughs have been announced in recent weeks.

Hundreds of BA ground staff face redundancy as the airline slashes costs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Boeing's ‘queen of the skies'

  • The first Boeing 747 flight took place in February 1969
  • It was the first aeroplane dubbed a “jumbo jet”
  • BOAC, British Airways' predecessor, operated its first 747 flight, flying from London to New York, in 1971
  • At its height, BA had a fleet of 57 747-400s, second only to Japan Airlines (more than 100)
  • The wings of a 747-400 span 213ft and are big enough to accommodate 50 parked cars

What happens to retired planes?

Specialist companies assess whether aircraft should be salvaged or scrapped. Often they are dismantled and their parts sold on for scrap or recycled. Most of the value is in the engines.

Many are also stripped out as they have valuable interiors. In some cases, private individuals and entrepreneurs buy old airliners to convert them into hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions.

Those that are scrapped can end up in giant aircraft graveyards in the desert where they are left to rust.

Virgin Atlantic close to securing a £1.2 billion rescue deal

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 14th 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – British airline Virgin Atlantic is close to securing a 1.2 billion pound ($1.5 billion) rescue deal, Sky News reported on Tuesday, removing the medium-term chance of administration as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The deal, which will involve backing from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and hedge fund Davidson Kempner, could be confirmed later on Tuesday, Sky News said. A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic declined to comment on the report.

Reporting by Alistair Smout

Uber join forces with Thames Clippers London to launch commuter boat service

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 8th July 2020) London, Uk – –

US firm will buy naming rights for fleet and piers, and users can book journeys on its app

Uber is to extend its reach in London by taking to the water, with the Thames Clippers commuter service to be rebranded Uber Boat and bookable through the US company’s app.

A formal partnership will be launched this summer, allowing Uber users to book a Thames river journey through the app, and board using a QR code on their phone. Uber will buy the naming rights for the 20-strong fleet of river boats and Thames Clipper’s piers from Putney to Woolwich, in a rolling contract expected to last for at least three years.

A move into fix-scheduled commuter boats is a first for Uber. Users will still pay the same price and although there are hopes for an integrated service, for now they will not be able to book an end-to-end journey with a connecting car. Thames Clippers tickets will still be available to buy elsewhere and the boats remain part of the Oyster network.

Sean Collins, Thames Clippers’ co-founder and chief executive, said: “In our 22nd year of operation it is key that we continue to support London and its commuters with the ease of lockdown and return to work. The new partnership will allow us to link the two travel modes of river and road, providing Londoners and visitors with even more options to commute, visit, explore and enjoy our city by river.”

Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said: “Many Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work.”

The boat service resumed on 15 June after being closed when the coronavirus outbreak took hold. It has reduced capacity and passengers must wear face masks, in line with Transport for London (TfL) guidance. Last year 4.3m passengers used the Thames Clippers service, which remains majority-owned by AEG, the owner-operators of the O2entertainment venue.

TfL has yet to renew Uber’s licence to operate private hire cars in London. Uber’s application for a new licence was rejected in November because of safety fears after some drivers were found to have faked their identity. It has been allowed to continue operating pending an appeal – which was originally due to have been heard in a magistrate’s court this week. However, because of the impact of the pandemic on TfL’s resources, the hearing has been postponed until September.

TfL said it granted licences to river operators such as Thames Clippers “who comply with our high safety standards” but played no role in any partnerships with other businesses and organisations.

By Gwyn Topham

UK firms to be paid £1,000 bonuses to hire young people

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 6th July 2020) London, Uk – –

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a raft of big-spending measures aimed at creating thousands of jobs.

Companies will be paid £1,000 bonuses by the government to hire young people as trainees, the chancellor will announce as part of his rescue plan for Britain's post-coronavirus economic recovery.

In a hotly anticipated “emergency budget” on Wednesday, Rishi Sunak will unveil a raft of big-spending measures aimed at creating thousands of jobs to replace those lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bonuses for employers who hire young people into training programmes in England will come in a £111m scheme which will pay direct government subsidies for taking on trainees for the first time.

The money will be available for trainees aged 16 to 24 and will be capped at 10 jobs per employer, or £10,000.

Employers will be able to determine how to spend the £1,000, as long as it directly or indirectly contributes to training.

The scheme, in which thousands of young people will be given the skills to secure a job, will be part of the largest-ever expansion of traineeships the country has ever seen, the chancellor is expected to tell MPs on Wednesday.

Unveiling his plan to help kick-start the economy, following on from Boris Johnson's “New Deal” speech last week, Mr Sunak will say he aims to give more 16 to 24-year-olds “the tools they need to enter the world of work”.

The government is concerned that many of the people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic are in industries such as hospitality where the bulk of employees are under 30 and many under 25.

The chancellor's statement this week is not officially a budget and there will not be the photo outside 11 Downing Street with the famous red box, but it will be a response to huge job losses and dire forecasts of mass unemployment.

As part of the new traineeships, which will last from six weeks to six months, young people will receive maths, English and CV writing training as well as guidance about what to expect in the workplace.

They will also receive a high-quality work placement of 60 to 90 hours.Government vows £1.57bn lifeline for arts – but no plans to resume live shows

Evidence shows that three-quarters of 18 to 24-year-olds who complete traineeships move on to employment or further study within 12 months.

The expanded scheme will be in place in England from September.

The government will also provide £21m to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland through the Barnett formula so they can follow suit.Coronavirus UK tracker: How many cases are in your area – updated daily

A Whitehall source said: “Young people's employment prospects are expected to be disproportionately affected by the economic fallout of coronavirus.

“Expanding traineeships will be part of a wider package to support young people and to ensure they have the skills and training to go on to high quality, secure and fulfilling employment.”

But according to the UK's biggest construction trade union, the PM's promise to “build, build, build” the UK back to economic health will not work unless urgent action is taken to avert a crisis in skills and apprenticeships.

Unite claims a lethal combination of employers' long-standing reluctance to invest in apprentices, widespread redundancies because of the pandemic, and a reluctance to recruit new entrants is likely to result in 20,000 fewer apprentices this autumn, vastly down from the 47,284 in England last year.

“The prime minister's pledge to ‘build, build, build' the country's way out of this pandemic-caused crisis won't get very far without a workforce,” said Unite's assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail.

“Construction apprenticeship training is in danger of collapsing as an after effect of the pandemic, which is why we're calling on the chancellor to make it clear when he announces his plans for recovering the economy this coming week that our young workers will be given a chance of a career in construction,” Ms Cartmail added.

“At the moment, for every one good quality apprenticeship, there are 1,000 applicants. Young workers have to scale this huge mountain so it is only right that they have the chance to complete their apprenticeship and have a job at the end of their training.”

By Jon Craig Chief Political Correspondent

Three of Europe’s biggest airlines end legal challenge to UK’s quarantine policy

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Fri, 3rd July 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Three of Europe’s biggest airlines said on Friday they would end a legal challenge against the British government after it scrapped its quarantine rule for travellers coming from some of the most popular tourist destinations.

The government said the policy would be ended for English holidaymakers to countries such as France, Spain and Italy, although it would be maintained for the United States.

The policy announcement coincided with a planned court hearing for a legal challenge to the measures by British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.

The airlines heavily criticised the government’s introduction of a blanket rule that all travellers arriving from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days on June 8, saying it jeopardised the industry’s recovery from the crisis.

However, they agreed to end the legal challenge after the government said it would publish a list of countries to which the rules would not apply.

“The blanket quarantine introduced by the UK Government on everyone entering into England was irrational and has seriously damaged the economy and the travel industry,” the airlines said in a statement.

“Today’s publication of a list of countries is a first step. We look forward to the publication of the rationale behind the decision-making and the continued lifting of the quarantine from safe countries.”

Tom Hickman, representing the airlines, had earlier argued that the restrictions on travellers were stricter than those imposed at the height of the coronavirus lockdown, and that the rate of infection in different countries should be taken into account.

The government said the policy was a crucial step to avoid a second wave of COVID-19, and their lawyers said that the measures had been justified and proportionate.

By Alistair Smout

A full list of countries for which quarantine will not apply published, for those arriving back in England

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 3rd July 2020) London, Uk – –

A full list of countries for which quarantine will not apply to people arriving back in England has been published.

Countries including Greece, Spain, France and Belgium are on the list, which comes into effect from 10 July.

But countries such as China, US, Sweden and Portugal are not, meaning arrivals from those have to isolate for 14 days.

Scotland and Wales are yet to decide whether to ease travel restrictions and described the changes as “shambolic”.

The quarantine rules will also remain in place in Northern Ireland for visitors arriving from outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The restrictions came into place in early June in a bid to stop coronavirus entering the country as the number of cases was falling.

Speaking at the Downing Street press briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Instead of quarantining arrivals from the whole world, we will only quarantine arrivals from those countries where the virus is sadly not under control.”

People travelling from the 59 places and 14 British overseas territories on the list will not have to quarantine on arrival in England unless they have travelled through a place which is not exempt.

Passengers will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in England.

Some of those on the list include popular short-haul destinations such as Turkey and Cyprus, as well as long-haul locations including Australia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam.

However, some countries will require visitors to isolate on arrival or will bar them from entering at all, such as New Zealand.

The Foreign Office is expected to update its travel guidance on Saturday, including naming which countries will have a reciprocal arrangement with the UK and not require British visitors to quarantine on arrival.

A proposed traffic light system, which would have seen countries marked as red, amber or green depending on the prevalence of the virus, has been dropped, the Department for Transport confirmed.

A list of countries which will be exempt from the Foreign Office's advice against “all but essential travel” from Saturday has also been published.

The advice has been lifted for Portugal but only for the Azores and Madeira.

Portugal's Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told BBC Radio 4's PM programme: “We are very disappointed with the decision of the British authorities. We think it is senseless and unfair.

“It is quite absurd the UK has seven times more cases of Covid-19 than Portugal so we think this is not the way in which allies and friends are treated.”

His prime minister, António Costa, tweeted comparing the UK's number of coronavirus cases with that of the Algarve, a popular holiday destination, saying: “You are welcome to spend a safe holiday in the Algarve.”

The government said information for travel into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be published in due course by the devolved administrations.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said finalising the list of countries had been delayed – after scrapping the quarantine was announced last week – in the hope that the four UK nations could reach a joint decision.

He said there was “still an opportunity” for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to co-ordinate and therefore make the changes more simple.

But the first ministers of both Scotland and Wales have criticised the government, with Nicola Sturgeon saying Scotland could not be dragged along by the UK government's “shambolic decision making”.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the approach had been “utterly shambolic”.

However, he added it was likely the Welsh government would impose the same measures as in England, provided the chief medical officer for Wales gave approval.

Mr Johnson said in a televised coronavirus briefing from Downing Street that the nations of the UK were following “very similar paths but at different speeds”.

Asked if a family from Scotland could drive to England and fly out and back from an overseas country to get around different quarantine rules the prime minister said that while he knew the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales had a “slightly different take” on it the “convoy is very much going in the same direction”.

“I'm sure we'll get there together and common sense will apply.”

The introduction of the quarantine on 8 June was met with criticism from the travel, tourism and hospitality industries and the easing of restrictions on arrivals from some countries has been welcomed.

A statement on behalf of airlines Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways said the move to quarantine people had been “irrational” and had seriously damaged the economy and industry.

It added the carriers wanted clarification on how countries included on the lists were selected.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of industry body Airline UK, said the lists gave “a clear path to opening further predominantly long-haul destinations in the weeks ahead”.

TUI UK and Ireland managing director Andrew Flintham said the company was pleased the government had confirmed “summer holidays are saved” and said it was a “significant step forward” for the industry.

The chief executive of Booking Holdings, which owns the brands Booking.com and Kayak.com, called for a coordinated effort from governments around the world to set out principles as to why someone can travel from one country to another.

Glenn Fogel told BBC World News current measures were “totally chaotic” but he welcomed England's announcement saying the UK is “an important part of the global tourism industry”.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said the lifting of travel restrictions for some of the “largest and most valuable visitor markets” was a “timely boost” for the industry.

Pilots union, the British Airline Pilots Association, said it was an important first step and said it was working with authorities to make sure the return to operations would be safe for pilots, passengers and crew.

An Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) spokeswoman said there was likely to be a strong demand for holidays and it was important people considered how this might affect their plans.

“It is especially important that customers also check the latest Foreign Office travel advice before booking, to establish if there are entry restrictions or self-isolation procedures on arrival, or any other measures they need to comply with, in the destination they are planning to visit,” she said.

A High Court challenge by British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair against the government's 14-day quarantine is set to be withdrawn, their barrister Tom Hickman QC said.

Dozens of countries exempt from UK travel quarantine from Monday

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Thur, 2nd July 2020) London, Uk – –

Dozens of countries will be exempt from a travel quarantine from Monday, UK government sources have indicated.

Currently, most people arriving into the UK from anywhere apart from the Republic of Ireland have to self-isolate for two weeks.

Ministers had previously indicated they were working to establish a relatively small number of travel corridors.

Travel and tourism companies have been calling for urgent clarity over the corridors amid rising bookings.

Last weekend, the government said it would relax its advice on travel abroad and would rate countries as either green, amber or red, depending on the prevalence of the virus.

Now government sources have indicated that a very long list of countries is likely to be published by the end of this week.

It is possible that up to 75 countries deemed low or very low risk will be exempt from the UK's quarantine from Monday, 6 July.

Some of the countries on this new list do still have restrictions on people travelling in the other direction, from the UK.

Other higher-risk countries, such as the US, will be categorised as red.

Analysis: Tom Burridge

So the government is about to announce something which aviation bosses, many MPs and some scientists have advocated from the beginning – a targeted quarantine which only impacts people arriving into the UK from high risk ‘red' countries.

It is the opposite of the government's blanket-style approach which has been in place for less than four weeks.

You could call it a ‘U-turn'.

For days, if not weeks, the government has indicated that it wanted a relatively small number of bilateral-style ‘travel corridors', namely with European nations, where the virus is under control.

It appears that approach hit a number of hurdles.

Some countries, like Greece, weren't willing to reciprocate in the short-term.

While there was nothing to stop people travelling into the UK from a higher risk country, via a lower risk one to avoid the quarantine.

The optics concerning Portugal are illuminating. First it seemed to be top of the list of exemptions. Then last week sources indicated it was off the list. The situation regarding Portugal now is unclear.

The process was further complicated by both the Welsh and Scottish governments saying they might follow a separate approach.

Travel companies will be pleased about a much longer list of exemptions but they've been pulling their hair out over the confusion, and the delay in making a final announcement, which is now expected by the end of this week.

And critics will question why the government did not go for a more nuanced approach in the first place.

Presentational grey line

It seems that agreeing a small number of travel corridors with specific countries was fraught with risk. The Scottish government has expressed concern about plans to relax the quarantine and it is still in discussion with officials and politicians in Westminster.

Travel companies have called on the government to publish its list as soon as possible, to end the confusion.

George Morgan-Grenville, chief executive of travel company Red Savannah and long-time critic of the quarantine rules, told the BBC he was “very encouraged” by news that a clarification was imminent.

He said the restrictions had been “a disaster for the industry, which had been prevented from getting back on its feet”.

Your travel rights

Most people intending to travel overseas when restrictions are lifted may find their travel insurance does not cover every risk created by coronavirus.

A number of new policies will now cover medical treatment for Covid-19 which has been caught while in a resort.

However, people who need to cancel a holiday because they develop symptoms before going away, or are told to self-isolate at home, might not be covered.

People who bought an annual policy before the outbreak could have greater protection, depending on the terms and conditions of the cover.

Those on package holidays will get a refund or can rebook if travel restrictions are re-imposed but, as with new travel insurance, most will not get their money back if they pick up symptoms or are told to self-isolate just before they are due to travel.

EasyJet pilots at risk of redundancy

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 30th June 2020) London, Uk – –

Easyjet has begun talks with unions on cutting up to 1900 UK-based jobs including more than 700 pilots after the collapse in air travel due to coronavirus.

The airline also said it was looking at the closure of three of its bases in the UK – London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle, though the airports would remain part of its route network.

Easyjet had already announced last month that it was cutting up to 4,500 jobs, or 30% of its workforce, as a result of the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the carrier said that as part of this it had begun formal consultations with trade unions Unite and Balpa relating to all UK pilots and crew.

That number totals 1900 but the airline said it would seek to work with unions to try to minimise job losses.

Coronavirus: Eased travel restrictions see holiday bookings ‘explode’

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 29th June 2020) London, Uk – –

Travel companies say holiday bookings have “exploded” after the government announced current restrictions will be eased.

Ministers said from 6 July, blanket restrictions on non-essential overseas travel will be relaxed in the UK.

Holidaymakers will be allowed to travel to certain European countries without having to spend 14 days in quarantine upon their return.

A spokesperson for TUI said the move was a “hugely positive step forward”.

“We've already seen bookings increase by 50% this week, versus last [week], with holidays to Spain and Greece looking the most popular this summer,” said Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK and Ireland.

Lastminute.com said it experienced an 80% increase on holiday sales compared to last week, largely attributed to the announcement of Spain lifting the quarantine for Brits.

The list of travel corridors with the UK is due to be published next week and is expected to include Spain, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Turkey, Germany and Norway – but not Portugal or Sweden.

It comes as it was announced a further 100 people had died from the virus in the UK, with a further 890 people testing positive, as of 27 June.

‘Traffic light system'

John Keefe, director of public affairs at Eurotunnel, said phones had been “ringing off the hook”.

Eurotunnel saw an increase of bookings weeks ago, suggesting that many holidaymakers had already started to “discount the quarantine measures”, said Mr Keefe – but bookings “exploded” when the announcement was made on Friday.

Foreign Office advice against all but essential international travel has been in place since 17 March.

Under the new rules, a traffic light system will be introduced – with countries classified as green, amber or red depending on the prevalence of coronavirus. The UK is likely to discuss arrangements with countries over the coming days.

A government spokesman said measures would give people “the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad” while also boosting the UK economy – but stressed the relaxation depended on risks staying low.

The government said it “wouldn't hesitate to put on the brakes” if the situation changes.

While the UK government is responsible for border controls, the Scottish and Welsh governments say that public health and the response to the pandemic are devolved matters.

Both warned they had yet to decide to implement the measures.

Ministers in Scotland said it was “disappointing” that the announcement was made before all four UK nations held discussions.

Tourism businesses in Wales are not due to reopen until 13 July, a week after the travel restrictions are due to ease elsewhere.

In a statement, it said: “The Welsh Government continues to explore the UK Government's proposals for Air Bridges and awaits confirmation of a four-nation ministerial meeting to discuss the issue further.”

Portugal has seen a rise in the number of new cases in and around Lisbon recently, while Sweden is also unlikely to be on the list because the infection rate there is higher than in the UK. They are both likely to be classified as red.

But the government spokesman conceded there would be nothing to stop someone avoiding quarantine by flying into a Spanish airport, driving over the border into Portugal for their holiday and returning by the same route.

UK travellers will still have to hand over the address they plan to stay at on their return from abroad, no matter which country they are coming back from. And they will also be legally required to wear face coverings on planes and ferries.

How do holidaymakers feel?

Jon San Jose, 38, will be travelling to Spain with his wife and two young children in August to celebrate his mother-in-law's 60th birthday.

To minimise risks, they have decided to take the Eurotunnel to France and then drive to Alicante, Spain, where they will be joined in a villa by the rest of the extended family.

Jon and his wife Karleen welcomed the government announcement, after having doubts the birthday celebration would still go ahead, and said they are doing all they can to limit risks.

“We probably won't eat out more than once or twice,” said Jon. “We're probably going to stay in the villa for most of the time. If anything it will be less risk going there than staying [in the UK] at the moment.”

Portugal's Secretary of State for Tourism Rita Baptista Marques told BBC Breakfast her country had been named the most secure destination in Europe by the World Tourism and Travel Council and is a “clean and safe destination”.

She added that the situation is “completely under control”, with significant testing being carried out.

But Greece's Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis suggested that it could be up to three weeks before the country is happy to open up an air bridge to the UK, as discussions with health experts are continuing.

Spain lifted its state of emergency last Sunday, reopening its borders to visitors from most of Europe and allowing British tourists to enter the country without having to quarantine.

Travel industry group ABTA said the travel sector “eagerly” anticipates confirmation of the list of countries, which “should encourage customers to book”.

“The blanket Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel is still a major impediment to travel, however, and we look forward to the government adopting a similar risk-based approach to that advice,” it said in a statement.

The UK introduced rules requiring all people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days on 8 June. It was widely criticised by the travel industry and MPs of all parties.

What are the current quarantine rules?

  • People arriving in the UK should drive their own car to their destination, where possible, and once there they must not use public transport or taxis
  • Arrivals must not go to work, school, or public areas, or have visitors – except for essential support. They are also not allowed to go out to buy food, or other essentials, where they can rely on others
  • Those arriving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland could face a fine of £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate for the full 14 days, while they face a £480 fine in Scotland. The maximum fine for repeat offenders in Scotland is £5,000

“Our new risk-assessment system will enable us to carefully open a number of safe travel routes around the world – giving people the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad and boosting the UK economy through tourism and business,” said a government spokesman.

“But we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if any risks re-emerge.”