European airlines set out network restoration plans

A number of European carriers have set out plans to restore schedules decimated by the coronavirus crisis.

Lufthansa Group said its repatriation schedule would end on May 31 and 80 aircraft would be reactivated in June, doubling the number of aircraft currently operating.

Lufthansa, Eurowings and SWISS will collectively fly to 106 destinations next month, with flights resuming to destinations including Crete (HER), Mallorca (PMI), Rostock (RLG) and Sylt (GWT).

The group said the additional services were in response to “the growing interest of customers in air travel, following the gradual easing of restrictions and limitations in the German federal states and entry regulations of other countries in Europe.”

“We sense a great desire and longing among people to travel again,” executive board member Harry Hohmeister added. “Hotels and restaurants are slowly opening, and visits to friends and family are in some cases being allowed again.”

SWISS will operate about 10-15% of its intended timetable in June, with approximately 140 weekly flights from Zurich (ZRH) to 30 destinations in Europe, and approximately 40 weekly flights from Geneva (GVA) to 14 destinations in Europe. In addition, the airline will still serve the three weekly long-haul flights to New York Newark (EWR).

ULCC Ryanair plans to resume three London Stansted (STN) routes over the coming weeks. From May 15, the carrier will operate 3X-weekly flights to Bucharest (OTP) and Sofia (SOF), with daily service to Porto (OPO) starting on May 22.

“Our current limited schedule continues to maintain vital links across Europe to facilitate our passengers and their families to deal with emergencies that may require urgent travel over the coming days and weeks,” Ryanair senior communications manager Alejandra Ruiz said.

“At this time, we expect scheduled flights to return sometime in July. We support the action taken by EU governments to combat the virus, and we now hope there is a coordinated plan to lift travel restrictions when Europe is ready to return flying once COVID-19 is defeated, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later.”

Air Serbia plans to resume a limited scheduled passenger air transport services on May 18, increasing to a comprehensive schedule on June 1. The flag-carrier stressed flights would “depend on the decisions and guidelines of national, foreign, and international civil aviation authorities and on the lifting of the flight bans, evolution of travel restrictions and health measurements to countries served by Air Serbia.”

The carrier expects its schedule to “remain strong” for operations to Brussels, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Kiev, Krasnodar, London, Nice, Paris, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia, Tirana, Vienna, Zadar, Zagreb and Zurich

However, flights to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Chisinau, Florence, Geneva, Helsinki, Lviv, Malta, Rijeka and Rostov on Don will remain temporarily suspended.

Czech Airlines also plans to gradually resume operations from May 18, with plans to fly from Prague (PRG) to Amsterdam (AMS), Frankfurt (FRA), Paris (CDG) and Stockholm (ARN).

Effective May 24, the carrier intends to resume operations on its Kiev (IEV) route, with Odessa (ODS) flights to follow the next day, provided mandatory quarantine restrictions are terminated in Ukraine, as currently scheduled. On 25 May 2020, flights to OTP will also resume.

As reported by Airlineroute, Alitalia has this week filed planned service resumption on additional domestic routes. From May 18, it will serve Rome (FCO)-Alghero (AHO) and FCO-Olbia (OLB) 1X-daily.

British Airways has also filed plans to add a number of European routesv from London Heathrow (LHR), offering 316 weekly flight departures.

Photo credit: Ryanair

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.