easyJet has today resumed some flying to and from 8 airports in the UK including Belfast, the first flight from Belfast is scheduled to take off at 07.05am to Liverpool and the airline plans to fly around 45% of its Belfast routes in July and 90% in August, although with a lower frequency of flights. EasyJet has introduced new measures to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of passengers and crew including enhanced aircraft cleaning and disinfection and mandatory use of face masks.
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 Belfast took off at 07.05am this morning for Liverpool.
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. The majority of flights during June will be on domestic routes. The airline plans to fly around 45% of its Belfast routes in July and 90% in August, although with a lower frequency of flights. This means that as well as 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, Spain and Turkey; and lively hotspots in Portugal 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 our flights from Belfast today and welcoming customers back onboard. While we are starting with a small number of flights this will build over the coming weeks to cover around 45% of our Belfast routes in July and 90% 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.”
Graham Keddie, managing director at Belfast International Airport said: “We are delighted to be reopening our doors to passenger flights today. We have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare the terminal and implement new hygiene and safety measures for the health and wellbeing of all passengers and staff. We are looking forward to welcoming easyJet back to Belfast International Airport who are providing essential connectivity for Northern Ireland.”
AIRCRAFT CLEANING: 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.
AIRPORT MEASURES: 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.
SOCIAL DISTANCING: 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. For more information on available flights and to book visit easyJet.com.