London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 5 July 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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Provincetown, Cape Cod
Cape Cod (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 5 July 2021.

“It’s Time For New York City”

It was a week of transatlantic anniversaries last week.

Virgin Atlantic marked 30 years of operations at London Heathrow where it became the 2nd UK airline allowed to operate transatlantic flights at the airport. BA marked 75 years since BOAC operated its first commercial flight to New York City, via Shannon and Gander.

Next month, JetBlue will operate its inaugural flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK. Or at least it plans to.

And New York is certainly keen to welcome back visitors. The official tourism agency NYC & Company is rolling out a new $30 million advertising campaign “It’s Time For New York City”.

"It's Time For New York City" Advertising Campaign Poster
“It’s Time For New York City” NYC & Company, Advertising Campaign, Summer 2021

It was hoped that yesterday’s 4th of July public holiday in the US would mark a lifting of international travel restrictions for passengers from Europe. No so. And it’s likely to be a similar story for the Labor Day holiday.

Progress on opening a travel bubble between the UK & the US is said to be slow. This is partly because of concern over the spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant in the UK; the number of organisations in the US government that have oversight of travel restrictions and that the AstraZeneca vaccine does not have regulatory approval in the US.

Calls for progress from both airlines and government are noticeably louder on this side of the Atlantic. Last week, Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith joined BA and Virgin Atlantic in urging for restrictions to be lifted.

Here in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to hold a press briefing on the planned lifting of remaining restrictions in England from Monday 19 July. This was widely briefed to newspapers yesterday, with some suggesting that quarantine for passengers returning from “amber list” countries will not have quarantine on arrival.

BA Route Updates

A few more planned BA route network updates this week:

BA returns to Hyderabad at London Heathrow today. Flights from London Gatwick to Punta Cana have been suspended after it was put on the “red list”.

On short haul, flights from London Heathrow to Bucharest restart today. BA is due to return to Bordeaux this Friday 9 July. Summer seasonal flights to Figari Sud-Corse return on Saturday 10 July.

At London City airport, summer seasonal flights to Skiathos restart on Friday.

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

Cathay Pacific has unveiled a new “premium travel lifestyle brand” Cathay. Initially operating in Hong Kong only it will act as an umbrella for Cathay Pacific, Asia Miles and the Marco Polo Club. It will first offer a co-branded credit card. Further partnerships will follow in dining, hotels and shopping. The airline Cathay Pacific will not change its name. (Cathay)

Canadian airline Porter, which last week secured a loan from the Canadian Government has published its planned schedule for the restart of domestic flights in Canada from 8 September. Flights to the US will resume on 17 September. (Porter)

London Heathrow Terminal 3 will reopen for departing flights from Thursday 15 July. Delta and Virgin Atlantic will be the first airlines to return to the terminal. Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Wing, Clubhouse and Revivals Lounge will also reopen from this date, with modified procedures to enable social distancing. Other airlines at Heathrow will move back to Terminal 3 in phases in the coming weeks.

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