EasyJet and Ryanair ramp up flight schedules

Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Airlines have ramped up their flight schedules in a bid to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 1,000 flights per day are being operated by Ryanair, which has run a skeleton schedule since mid-March.

It is restoring almost 90% of its route network but frequencies are lower than normal, with just 40% of its normal July capacity.

A Ryanair flight to Malaga, Spain, on Wednesday afternoon will be the first departure from Southend Airport in three months.

EasyJet is running around 500 flights each day across Europe, including more than 900 a week to and from the UK.

It restarted a small number of flights on June 15 after all its aircraft were grounded in March.

Both airlines require passengers to wear face masks or coverings as part of enhanced safety and hygiene measures.

(Matt Alexander/PA)

British Airways has said it will make a “meaningful return” to service this month.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “We expect in July to carry more than 4.5 million customers, many of them families taking well-earned Mediterranean holidays after the severe challenges of the Covid-19 lockdown, home schooling, etc.

“These 1,000 daily flights mark an important turning point for Ryanair and for the tourism industry of Europe, which supports so many jobs and small businesses.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed on Tuesday that air bridges will soon be created to allow people arriving in the UK from certain countries to avoid the 14-day quarantine policy.

A list of exempt destinations will be published later this week.

Mr Shapps also revealed that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is reviewing its position of advising against all non-essential overseas travel.

National Express coaches are back on the road for the first time since April 5.

All passengers are having their temperature checked and anyone with a reading over 38C is being denied boarding and given a full refund.

Managing director Chris Hardy said: “It’s great to have around 500 drivers back behind the wheel.

“All of our teams have been working hard to get us ready to safely welcome customers back onboard, implementing significant changes to protect everyone’s health and well being.

“We’re happy to be back on the road and playing our part in getting the country safely moving again by providing a safe option for those who have no alternative to public transport.”