Jet2 has cancelled all holidays and flights until April 14 due to travel restrictions and growing uncertainty over when lockdown will end.
The holiday giant said it was handing out full refunds for holidaymakers who have had their travel plans scrapped.
Jet2 had previously announced plans to suspend their services until late March, but the new announcement has extended the ban up to and including 14 April.
The news comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock indicated today tough border measures – including ten-day isolation at home for all travellers and hotel quarantine for 33 ‘red list’ countries – will need to be in place until vaccines have been tweaked to deal with variant strains in the Autumn.
Jet2 has cancelled all holidays and flights until April 14 due to travel restrictions and growing uncertainty over when lockdown will end (file photo)
It came after Jonathan Van Tam said yesterday the ‘more elaborate your plans are for summer holidays, in terms of crossing borders, in terms of household mixing’ the greater the risk they will be cancelled.
Currently Britons are not allowed to leave the country unless they have a legally permitted reason.
‘Due to the ongoing uncertainty and travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including 14 April 2021,’ Jet2 said in a statement.
‘Where customers yet to travel are affected by any programme changes, our industry-leading and prompt refunding of over £1bn has been widely praised, and we will continue to automatically cancel affected bookings with a full refund.
‘For customers due to travel from 15th April onwards, we will provide further updates closer to the time as appropriate.
‘We would like to thank our valued customers for their patience and understanding.’
Currently Britons are not allowed to leave the country unless they have a legally permitted reason. Pictured: Tourists enjoy the seaside in Cyprus
How coronavirus crushed UK airlines
Flybe: Europe’s largest regional airline collapsed on March 5 after months on the brink, triggering 2,400 job losses and left around 15,000 passengers stranded across the UK and Europe.
British Airways: The boss of BA owner IAG demanded ministers set up airport testing after the group swung to a £5.6bn loss. The company, which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, lost the equivalent of £900,000 an hour during the first nine months of 2020.
Jet2: Reported operating losses of £111.2m for the six months to September 30, against earnings of £361.5m a year earlier.
Virgin Atlantic: In September Virgin Atlantic said it could axe a further 1,150 jobs from across the company taking the total number of job losses to 4,700 during the crisis. It also urged the Government to offer carriers emergency credit facilities worth up to £7.5billion.
Ryanair: Reported a loss of 197m euro (£178m) in the first half of 2020, with 99 per cent of it’s fleet grounded for almost four months. Traffic in the first half of the year fell from 86million to 17million passengers compared with the same period last year, and revenue dropped 78 per cent to 1.18billion euros (£1.06billion).
Easyjet: Crisis saw it crash to an annual loss of £1.27billion – the first in its 25-year history – but the prospect of a vaccine has led to a spike in sales over the past fortnight.
Carriers in Britain are estimated to have lost nearly £20billion last year as just 59.5million passengers used UK airports in 2020, which was a fall of 87 per cent from 246.9million in 2019, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.
It comes as Ryanair this month said it is braced for ‘the most challenging year’ in its 35-year history and expects a full-year loss of nearly €1billion (£880billion) as it told how Covid-19 continues to ‘wreak havoc across the industry’.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary described the year as the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35 year history.
Travel bosses today warned the UK faces a second summer write off as uncertainty over travel restrictions squashes demand for holidays.
Millions of Britons have already booked trips ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement of the country’s plan for easing restrictions on February 22 and Matt Hancock has previously predicted a ‘Great British Summer’.
But several government figures are hinting coronavirus restrictions could last well into summer – despite fears it will spell the death knell for businesses across the UK when the furlough scheme ends on April 30.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy firm the PC Agency, said the government needs to signal restrictions will be diluted from the start of April so travel can recover.
He said ‘The government needs to signal that these tougher restrictions will be diluted from the start of April, enabling travel to recover again.
‘Otherwise, the huge drop in travellers and number of flights will push the sector over a cliff-edge, with the resulting hundreds of thousands of job losses and business failures.’
He added: ‘The outlook may seem cloudy right now, as government tightens restrictions for those entering the UK.
‘But, when infection and mortality rates are much lower and the NHS is not under pressure due to vaccines taking effect, then there is no reason for such measures to be in place.’
Under current lockdown restrictions, Britons are not allowed to leave the country unless they have a legally permitted reason.
Work trips are allowed, so you will have to show some proof that your flight or sea crossing is vital for your employment.
But there are a range of other reasons for ‘essential travel’, such as medical care, to escape harm, compassionate visits – for example a funeral – and weddings.
Airlines fear any lack of rooms under the quarantine hotels scheme could force them to leave travellers stuck abroad.
It is understood ministers are considering adding a section to passenger locator forms, which all must fill out before departure.
It could ask them if they have booked into a quarantine hotel in the UK. But it is unclear if carriers will have to bar travellers who answer no, leaving them stranded.
Matt Hancock (left) indicated today that tough border measures including quarantine hotels will need to be in place until vaccines have been tweaked to deal with variant strains in the Autumn. It came after Jonathan Van Tam (right) said yesterday the ‘more elaborate your plans are for summer holidays, in terms of crossing borders, in terms of household mixing’ the greater the risk they will be cancelled
Mr Hancock announced today arriving travellers put in quarantine hotels in England will be charged £1,750 for their stay.
Passengers face fines of up to £10,000 for failing to quarantine and those who lie on their passenger locator forms face up to 10 years in jail.
The Cabinet minister said the measures announced will need to be replaced to enable ‘safe and free international travel’ in the future.
He told the Commons that 16 hotels have been contracted to provide 4,600 rooms for the hotel quarantine programme which begins on Monday.
UK nationals or residents returning to England from 33 ‘red list’ countries will be required to spend 10 days in a Government-designated hotel.
Anyone who attempts to conceal that they have been in one of those destinations in the 10 days before arrival faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years, Mr Hancock said.
He also confirmed the new ‘enhanced testing’ regime for all international travellers, with two tests required during the quarantine process from Monday.
Mr Hancock told the Commons: ‘People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk.
‘Passenger carriers will have a duty in law to make sure that passengers have signed up for these new arrangements before they travel, and will be fined if they don’t, and we will be putting in place tough fines for people who don’t comply.
‘This includes a £1,000 penalty for any international arrival who fails to take a mandatory test, a £2,000 penalty for any international arrival who fails to take the second mandatory test, as well as automatically extending their quarantine period to 14 days, and a £5,000 fixed penalty notice – rising to £10,000 – for arrivals who fail to quarantine in a designated hotel.’
He added: ‘I make no apologies for the strength of these measures, because we’re dealing with one of the strongest threats to our public health that we’ve faced as a nation.’
Asked when the new rules will be relaxed, Mr Hancock replied: ‘We want to exit from this into a system of safe international travel as soon as practicable and as soon as is safe.’
It comes after it was confirmed last week that UK nationals returning from 33 ‘red list’ countries would be required to quarantine in closely monitored Government-designated hotels, where they would have to take two tests – although no contracts have yet been signed with accommodation providers.