London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 3 May 2021

Welcome to London Air Travel’s weekly briefing on air travel around the world, as published every Monday at 06:00 BST.

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Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330neo Aircraft
Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330neo Aircraft (Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 3 May 2021.

UK Travel Restrictions

More than six months have passed since the UK government announced restrictions on international travel.

It is a near certainty that these will be lifted two weeks from today on Monday 17 May.

According to yesterday’s Mail On Sunday the government could announce as soon as this Friday the first “green list” of countries that UK citizens can visit without the need for quarantine on return. This will be under the slogan “Travel Safely; Plan Ahead”. It is reported this will be updated very three weeks. This does not provide for that many updates during the peak summer season.

The Sunday Times reported that the final list of countries is yet to be decided. Though there is speculation that Gibraltar, Iceland, Malta and Portugal will be on the green list. France, Greece and Spain are likely to on the amber list.

BA seems confident in travel restarting. It has refreshed its YouTube videos from last year on travel post COVID-19 and is running promoted social media posts.

Tourism Ministers of G20 members will also meet virtually this Thursday to discuss the restart of the travel and tourism industry.

Virgin Atlantic Results

Virgin Atlantic is often coy about publishing its financial results. True to form, it quietly slipped out its results for last year on a Friday before a bank holiday weekend.

The airline reported a loss of £659 million before tax and exceptional items for the year to 31 December 2020. Unrestricted cash fell from £353 million to £115 million.

Like all airlines at the moment, the accounts do include a going concern warning. Virgin considers that the actions taken earlier this year such as the sale and leaseback of Boeing 787 aircraft and securing further support from Virgin group will support the airline during a very gradual easing of travel restrictions in the third quarter of this year. Virgin does aim to be profitable in 2022.

IAG will also announce its first quarter results for 2021 this Friday.

South African Airways Exits Business Rescue

South African Airways has formally exited its business rescue process after nearly 18 months.

The Business Rescue Practitioners filed on Friday a notice of “substantial implementation” of a business rescue plan with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission in South Africa.

The airline is now claimed to be solvent and has been handed over to an interim board. The Department of Public Enterprises issued a statement that the government is in negotiations with a preferred equity partner and a sale and purchase agreement should be agreed within the next few weeks.

There is currently no timetable for the airline to resume flights.

In case you missed it:

BA launches new summer seasonal routes from London Heathrow to Cluj-Napoca, Gdansk, Riga and Wroclaw. (London Air Travel)

Also of note this week:

“I’m a gold card holder. Go and get me a drink!” Three reality show stars you’d never heard of are fined more than £2,000 for abusive behaviour towards cabin crew and failing to follow instructions from a pilot. The incident took place earlier this year on what was probably their last ever flight BA from Miami to London Heathrow. (Magistrates’ Blog)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

The European Commission has proposed that Member Stats relax restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. This will be for all persons, regardless of vaccination status, arriving from designated countries with low COVID-19 case rates. Also, any person should be able to enter the EU 14 days after they have received the last dose an EU approved vaccine. This will be balanced by an emergency brake mechanism which can be used by Member States to counter any emerging variants. (European Commission)

Lufthansa has ordered five additional Boeing 787-9 aircraft from Boeing. These have already been manufactured and were intended for another airline. It is expected to fly its first Boeing 787-9 aircraft in the coming winter season. The airline has also ordered five additional Airbus A350-900 aircraft for delivery from 2027. This brings Lufthansa’s firm orders for the Airbus A350-900 to 45 aircraft.

London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing is published every Monday at 06:00 BST. If you have any tips or stories please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news throughout the week.

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