easyJet has today relaunched flights from 22 airports across Europe for the first time since operations ceased at the end of March as a result of the pandemic. The first flight from the UK took off from London Gatwick at 7am this morning for Glasgow – the same destination the airline first flew to when easyJet first launched operations in November 1995.
During the lockdown period the fleet of aircraft has been maintained in a flight ready condition to enable the airline to resume flights at the right time. This means that easyJet also will relaunch 310 flights this week across the airline’s European network including from Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness in Scotland, on domestic routes.
The majority of flights during June will be on domestic routes. The airline plans to fly around 45% of its Scottish routes in July and 80% in August, although with a lower frequency of flights. This means that as well as key domestic connections, customers could still enjoy a summer holiday to a wide variety of city and beach destinations including the city staples of Paris and Barcelona; summer sun favourites the Balearics, the Canary Islands and Turkey; and lively hotspots in Portugal, Greece and Croatia – all with great value fares still available.
A new range of additional measures are in place to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of all customers and crew onboard. These include enhanced aircraft disinfection for easyJet aircraft; customers, cabin crew and ground crew will be required to wear masks; there will also initially be no food service onboard flights, all of which operate on a short-haul network. The 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.
Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager commented:
“We are really pleased to be relaunching some flights from Scotland and welcoming customers back onboard today. While we are starting with a small number of flights this will build over the coming weeks to cover around 45% of our Scottish routes in July and 80% in August. This is good news for customers wanting to go on their planned holiday over the summer or wishing to book a break away.
“Of course, the safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew remains our highest priority. This is why we have implemented 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.”
Mark Johnston, Managing Director at Glasgow Airport, said:
“Although we have remained open throughout this pandemic to provide crucial lifeline operations, we are really pleased to see airline partner easyJet resume what are important domestic passenger services.
“Our relationship goes back almost 25 years when the airline’s inaugural flight touched down at the airport on November 10 1995, so it’s fitting that Glasgow is once again the destination for what is an important moment for easyJet and the wider aviation industry.
“With lockdown beginning to ease, we are working with a number of our airlines partners to support their restart plans and have introduced a series of enhanced measures to keep our terminal clean and safe for staff and passengers as we welcome them back to the airport.”
At the controls of the first flight to Scotland were Captain David Morgan and Captain Kate McWilliams, with Tina Milton, Natalie Puncher, Christopher Bailey, Millie Hellwing and Jaye Sellers looking after customers’ safety and wellbeing in the cabin.
The additional cleaning and disinfection procedures for aircraft cabins are on top of an existing daily aircraft cleaning schedule. Every aircraft will be subject to a daily disinfection process which provides surface protection from viruses that lasts for at least 24 hours.
ON BOARD MEASURES:
All passengers and crew will be required to wear masks onboard at all times. Initially when flights restart, the Bistro and Boutique service will not be available. Furthermore, all flights will be equipped with spare sanitary equipment including masks, gloves and hand sanitiser to ensure these are available to customers and crew at all times onboard, if required. easyJet’s aircraft are already fitted with state of art filtration technology. High efficiency particle arresting filters filter 99.97% of airborne contaminants in the cabin, including viruses and bacteria. These filters are the same as those used in hospitals and through them the cabin air gets replaced every 3-4 minutes.
To protect customers and ground crew in the airport, customers will be able to use our automated bag drop to check in their hold luggage and screens will be in place at our check in desks and at airports where auto bag drop is not available. Ground crew and cabin will not handle any customer documents during boarding so customers will be asked to present and scan their own documents. easyJet already encourages all customers to check in online and download their boarding pass onto their smart phone or to print their own boarding passes before arriving at the airport. Our ground crew will also wear gloves and masks.
Further recommendations for airports indicate there may also be measures in places at airports such as wearing masks, self-declaration health forms to be completed ahead of departure, and temperature screening. The airline is working with all airports where it operates to understand what measures will be in place to protect customers.
Customers will be able to practice social distancing in the airports, at gates and during boarding. Onboard, and where possible, customers may be able to sit at distance where seats are available.
easyJet will continue to work with the relevant national authorities to review and assess what measures are required in the longer term.
The airline has launched a video outlining the new measures that will be in place for customers’ wellbeing.
easyJet has also announced that it has teamed up with a superhero illustrator to create comic book inspired face mask covers for children flying this summer to help ease the experience for both kids and parents. Irish artist Will Sliney, best known for his work on Marvel comics Spider-Man and Star Wars, has created a range of new comic book inspired face mask covers for young easyJet flyers.