A low-budget airline plans to resume flights from London and Luton despite lockdown restrictions. From May 1, Hungarian air carrier, Wizz Air, will restart selected flights as long as there are no further lockdown restrictions in the UK. The airline sees its flights as an essential service for passengers and will run routes to destinations including Tenerife, Portugal, and Israel.
While there are safety concerns, Wizz Air is reassuring its customers by introducing new hygiene protocols. These will include social distancing during boarding, online check-ins only and enhanced aircraft cleaning. In line with recommendations, planes will require overnight disinfection.
The cabin crew will need to wear masks and gloves during the flight. They will also be responsible for distributing sanitising wipes to travellers on board. Customers will also be encouraged to use contactless payments on flights to reduce non-essential contact.
For customers on board, there will be a new safety video to watch. This advises viewers on how to stay safe while travelling. It will also explain Wizz Air’s new safety measures and what they mean to its customers.
Talking of the new cleanliness measures, Wizz Air UK’s Managing Director, Owain Jones, says, ‘As we restart selected Luton flights to provide an essential service to passengers who need to travel, our primary concern is the health, safety and well-being of our customers and crew. The protective measures that we are implementing will ensure the most sanitary conditions possible.’
A Travel Resurgence?
While travellers see this move as a positive, it has raised concerns as to what constitutes essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite no clear indication on when UK lockdown will end, Wizz Air says it plans to have at least one-third of its fleet in the air by the end of May.
Other budget airlines, such as Ryanair and Easyjet, also plan to resume flights from mid-May. In contrast, Jet2 are more cautious, with flights returning from June 17.
What remains to be seen is what lockdown restrictions will be in place by May 1, and whether passengers will feel comfortable travelling during this time.