Budget airline easyJet is set to resume a limited flight schedule in and out of French airports from June 15 - with strict measures in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The budget airline said it intends to resume certain, mostly domestic, short-haul flights from Nice, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon and Lille. Services in and out of London Gatwick, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Belfast, and Isle of Man, as well as Geneva in Switzerland, Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, and Barcelona in Spain, are also set to resume on the same date.
Its flights will principally be on domestic routes, as well as a minimal number of international routes, but easyJet said it expects to increase operations as demand builds and coronavirus containment measures are relaxed across Europe.
"A small number of flights will restart on routes where we believe there is sufficient demand to allow profitable flights," the company said.
"Additional routes will be announced in the coming weeks as demand increases and containment measures in Europe are eased.",
In its statement, easyJet said that a number of health measures will be introduced, including the wearing of masks during flights, as well as the provision of anti-bacterial wipes and disinfectant dispensers. No food will be served during flights until further notice.
Additionally, planes' cabins will be disinfected daily using a process that, easyJet said in its statement, provides surface protection from viruses 'that lasts for at least 24 hours'.
On the ground, customers can use automated bag drop to check-in hold luggage. Ground crew and cabin will not handle documents, so passengers will be asked to present and scan their own documents.
These measures have been implemented in consultation with aviation authorities ICAO and EASA, and in line with relevant national authorities and medical advice through the airline’s chief medical adviser, easyJet said. They are outlined in this video released by the airline.
"These are small and carefully planned steps that we are taking to resume operations," Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said.
"We will continue to closely monitor the situation across Europe so that when more restrictions are lifted the schedule will continue to build over time to match demand while also ensuring we are operating efficiently and on routes that our customers want to fly.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew remains our highest priority which is why we are implementing a number of measures enhancing safety at each part of the journey from disinfecting the aircraft to requiring customers and crew to wear masks.
"These measures will remain in place for as long as is needed to ensure customers and crew are able to fly safely as the world continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic."
The airline's low-cost rival Ryanair had spoken of a return to flights from July. British Airways also mentioned July, but has warned its plans could be affected by the British government's intention to impose quarantine measures on travellers arriving from abroad.
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