EasyJet has announced plans to restart flights across the majority of its routes this summer, with holiday flights from all its UK airports in July and August.
The airline said it would be flying half of its 1,022 routes in July and 75% in August, although with lower frequencies – amounting to just under a third of its normal peak season capacity.
The move comes after it announced it would cut up to 4,500 staff because of reduced demand. Last month, easyJet said it would restart some UK and European flights from 15 June, as the rate of Covid-19 infection started to reduce across the continent.
It has launched a marketing blitz including a seat sale of 1m flights at £29.99 each. Customers may need some tempting after a long wait for many to be refunded for cancelled flights from airlines during the grounding.
Robert Carey, the chief commercial and planning officer at easyJet said: “We are delighted to announce that we will be flying the majority of our route network across Europe, meaning customers can still get to their chosen destination for their summer holidays this year. Travel restrictions are being lifted and demand is starting to return.”
All passengers and crew will be required to wear masks throughout the flights, and there will no onboard food or shopping services.
EasyJet said its aircraft would also have spare sanitary equipment including masks, gloves and hand sanitiser for customers and crew onboard, while its entire fleet of Airbus planes already had filters to remove contaminants from cabin air, including viruses and bacteria.
At the airport, check-in and bag-drop procedures would be automated, or screens put in place where automation was not available. Ground crew and cabin staff would not touch any passenger documents and would wear gloves and masks at all times when handling baggage to and from the aircraft.
While easyJet had raised the idea of scrapping the middle seat to enable distancing, it said customers would now be “invited to sit at distance” from other parties where possible.
Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of aircraft will also take place, in line with recommendations approved on Monday night by the UN aviation body the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The agreed measures for worldwide aviation signed off by the Montreal-based organisation include passengers wearing masks throughout their journey, self-declarations of health, contact tracing, and keeping staff and customer contact to a minimum. The measure of social distancing would be 1 metre between people, and only where possible.