With several countries gradually opening their air space and lifting lockdown restrictions, ‘non-essential’ travel is slowly gaining traction as major airlines ramp up their services in time for the peak holiday season. However, most countries still have border closures and travel bans in place.
Borders across Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, and some Pacific island nations have begun to reopen to non-essential travel even though many countries across Africa and South America are in lockdown. US border closures remain in place with Europe, Mexico, and Canada.
Moreover, in a bid to kick-start tourism and help economies rebound, governments are implementing “travel bubbles” or air bridges between countries, allowing citizens to travel freely between specified nations. India has implemented a temporary reciprocal arrangement with the US, Germany and France and more countries like the UK and Canada will soon be added to the list.
Chicago-based carrier United Airlines said it is going to resume service on more than 25 international routes in September. It plans to fly 37 per cent of its overall schedule in September as compared to the same period last year.
In a statement, United said it was mulling to add flights to India, Israel, Australia and Latin America from Chicago, New York/Newark, Denver, San Francisco, Houston, Washington and Los Angeles. This month, United plans to resume service between Houston and Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Aguascalientes, Tampico, Veracruz and Costa Rica.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has said it planned to add 700 flights to its worldwide schedule in August, including resumption of services from Atlanta to Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Munich and Dublin. As of July 28, Delta is flying to Amsterdam, Seoul, Shanghai Pudong via Seoul, Tokyo, Sydney, Tel Aviv, London, Shanghai and Paris.
In July, Delta was the first to fly between the US and mainland China after planes were grounded due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
From flying to only a handful of major cities like London, Frankfurt, Paris and Sydney in July, Emirates has expanded its operations to Tehran, Guangzhou, Addis Ababa, Oslo and Philippines. The Dubai-based airline will operate six flights per week to Clark. This takes the number of destinations that it has resumed services in South East and East Asia to 13, across ten countries.
Planning to ramp up long-haul operations, Emirates has decided to expand its passenger network to 62 destinations in August. On August 1, Emirates became the first commercial passenger flight to fly to Seychelles since March. The carrier is also planning to increase its services to Maldives in August.
Abu Dhabi’s state-owned carrier Etihad Airways will resume international flights from Abu Dhabi to 58 destinations in August, aiming to operate at about 45 per cent of its pre-coronavirus capacity this month. In June-July,
the airline was operating to 29 destinations. Here is Etihad’s schedule for August:
North America: Chicago, New York JFK, Toronto, Washington DC
Europe: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Belgrade, Brussels, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbul, London Heathrow, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Rome, Zurich
Middle East & Africa: Amman, Bahrain, Beirut, Cairo, Casablanca, Kuwait, Muscat, Rabat, Riyadh, Seychelles
Asia: Ahmedabad, Baku, Bangkok, Bengaluru, Chennai, Colombo, Delhi, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Jakarta, Karachi, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Kuala Lumpur, Lahore, Male, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Singapore, Thiruvananthapuram, Tokyo
Australia: Melbourne, Sydney
After four months of suspension due to the pandemic, Lufthansa has reinstated services between Frankfurt and New York City’s John F Kennedy International airport, with five flights per week. The carrier has begun to offer on-site coronavirus testing at Frankfurt airport for travellers arriving from high caseload countries like the United States.
Lufthansa has announced that it planned to operate more than 70 per cent of its long-haul routes by the end of October and 90 per cent of all short- and medium-haul flights. It plans to fly to 130 destinations worldwide, with more than 2,000 flights weekly by October.
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British Airways, which had started skeletal operations in July to a few Caribbean nations and Dubai, is expected to resume flights to Russia and Pakistan this month. The first flight will land in Islamabad on August 14, Reuters reported.
Turkish Airlines will be the first foreign carrier to resume flights between St Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport and the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Antalya, starting from this weekend. Five weekly services to Istanbul will begin on 2 August. Turkish Airlines flights from St. Petersburg to Antalya will launch on August 10.