London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 17 May 2021

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Aer Lingus London Heathrow
London Heathrow Terminal 2 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 17 May 2021.

Travel Restrictions From England Lifted

Today, Monday 17 May, marks the lifting of restrictions on outbound international travel from England. Passengers no longer need a legally permitted reason to travel.

Many will still find the prospect of a holiday a long way off and, to the frustration of airlines, the UK government continues to dampen expectations.

At BA, there is a modest increase in short haul flights from London Heathrow.

Reinstated routes from this week – assuming no last minute cancellations! – include Ibiza, Lanzarote, Madeira, Malta, Marseille, Mykonos, Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa, Santorini, Tenerife and Toulouse. BA also returns to Chicago O’Hare this week.

At London City airport, BA CityFlyer returns to Glasgow from today and Faro later this week.

Virgin Atlantic is due to return to Montego Bay from this Wednesday.

Full details on the new rules and the traffic light system for arrivals in England are available on

Dedicated Heathrow Terminal For “Red List” Flights?

There has been considerable controversy over the past week on the UK government being slow to impose mandatory quarantine on flights from countries with relatively high rates of COVID-19 infection.

It has been suggested in the past that Terminal 4 could be designated as a terminal for “red list” flights so arriving passengers do not mix with those arriving from amber and green countries.

Yesterday’s Sunday Times reported that Ministers are proposing that Terminal 2 could be designated as an arrivals terminal for “red list” flights.

This will introduce considerable complications. It would require Terminal 3 to reopen first. Airlines such as BA and Virgin will not relish having to split operations between terminals. A large number of other airlines currently operating from Terminal 2 would have to relocate to Terminals 3 and 5. Given the pressure a heavily indebted Heathrow is under to contain operating costs, it will not want to reopen additional terminals unless it has to.

Wide Body Short Haul Flights

Back to short haul travel in Europe, one of its few reliable pleasures is a flight on a wide body aircraft.

Due to limited scheduled passenger flights, airlines are operating selected flights with wide body aircraft for their cargo capacity.

Yesterday, BA started operating flights BA559 & BA560 between Heathrow and Rome Fiumicino on Sundays with Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

Other BA wide body short haul flights at Heathrow this month include:

BA430 & BA431 to / from Amsterdam on Wednesday & Thursday;
BA636 & BA637 to / from Athens on Friday & BA626 & BA627 on Sunday;
BA621 & BA622 to / from Larnaca on Monday & BA664 & BA665 on Thursday;
BA776 & BA777 to / from Stockholm on Friday; and
BA712 & BA713 to / from Zurich on Wednesday.

As ever, these are indicative and subject to change at very short noice.

Also of note this week:

The Australian Federal Government indicated last week in its budget that it does not expect its borders to reopen until well in 2022. The effective closure of Australia from the outside world has significant cultural and economic implications, as well as a substantial human impact for many tens of thousands of people. (The Guardian)

Hotel Quarantine: What’s it like to spend 11 days in a hotel at Heathrow? (BBC Radio 4)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

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One thought on “London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 17 May 2021”

  1. It’s great that flights are opening up again. However, the cost of taking 3 (maybe 4) PCR tests for a holiday is not going to enable most families to afford holiday (c£600+ in PCR Tests for a family of 4.

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