Airlines suffer blow as UK bans leisure travel

Overseas travel from England that’s not related to work will be prohibited to help curb a resurgence of the coronavirus, throwing airlines into a fresh crisis.

The new rules, part of a wider partial lockdown by Premier Boris Johnson, will apply from Thursday until December 2, and come as the industry struggles to survive a collapse in demand.

Airlines hadn’t been informed about the restrictions before Johnson’s announcement Saturday evening, according to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified as they weren’t authorised to speak publicly on the issue.

Carriers were already reeling from Covid-19. They have eliminated jobs, retired older fuel-guzzling aircraft and turned to capital markets and asset sales to survive a slump in travel.

Many have slashed capacity further in the wake of the resurgence in Covid-19 infections.

EasyJet Plc, Europe’s second-biggest discount carrier, said it will operate its planned flights until Thursday. “It’s likely that much of the UK touching schedule will be cancelled during lockdown with our planned flying set to resume in early December,” it said. British Airways said it was assessing the new information and would keep its customers updated.

 

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