Emirates to restart flights from Stansted to Dubai

Emirates is to reintroduce flights from London Stansted airport to Dubai from 1 August after a gap of more than two years caused by the pandemic.

The Dubai-based carrier will offer five weekly flights from Stansted in August before increasing frequency to a daily service from 1 September. Emirates already serves two other London airports, Heathrow and Gatwick.

Emirates will fly Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on the Stansted-Dubai route, which is fitted with the airline’s Game Changer first class cabin.

The reintroduction of Stansted means that Emirates will offer 110 weekly flights from seven UK airports to Dubai by October 2022.

The airline is also doubling flights from Dubai to Singapore from seven to 14 per week from 23 June, after the destination eased its travel rules.

Emirates is also stepping up flights from Dubai to Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria in the coming months, as well as operating four weekly flights to Buenos Aires via Rio de Janeiro from 2 November 2022.

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Russia plans to restart international flights with 52 ‘friendly nations’ after April 9

Russia plans to restart international flights with 52 ‘friendly nations’ after April 9

Russia is planning to restart international flight services to and from 52 countries post-April 9. This was stated by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in a statement.

He added that the country will be resuming flight services to and from Argentina, South Africa, and other ‘friendly countries’, which indicates those that have not joined the latest wave of Western sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow refers to as a ‘special operation’ to demilitarise its neighbour.

As reported earlier, Russia imposed broad travel restrictions at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, many of which are still in force. However, the country has gradually expanded the list of countries that have been deemed safe for air travel.

As per the reports, other countries with which Russia will be resuming flights after April 9 include China, Algeria, Peru, Lebanon, and Pakistan. Mishustin also added that Russia would be lifting travel restrictions across the land border between Russia and China.

Reportedly, Russia closed its airspace to airlines from 36 countries, including all those 27 members of the European Union, in response to Ukraine-related sanctions targeting its aviation sector. This also led to Western firms terminating leasing contracts with Russian airlines for more than 500 aircraft.

The sanctions that have been imposed also prevent Russian airlines from buying aircraft parts or maintenance services from the United States or Europe, further adding pressure on the world’s 11th largest aviation market from a ban on flying over North American and European airspace.

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Air Canada to restart Edinburgh-Toronto route in June

Air Canada is to resume flights between Edinburgh and Toronto this summer.

The carrier will fly from the Scottish capital six times per week from 1 June to 2 October, before the seasonal service drops down to four weekly flights from 3-29 October.

The resumption of the Edinburgh-Toronto route comes as Air Canada rebuilds its network to Europe this summer as Covid-19 travel restrictions are eased.

Air Canada will be using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft on the Edinburgh route for the first time, featuring three cabins: economy, premium economy and Air Canada Signature Class.

Canada is due to remove the requirement for fully vaccinated international passengers to take a pre-entry Covid test from 1 April. Currently, vaccinated visitors to Canada are still required to take a pre-departure test. 

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Thailand to restart quarantine-free travel from February 1

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Bangkok (AFP) – Thailand will resume its quarantine-free travel scheme from February 1, officials said Thursday, after the programme was suspended due to the fast-spreading Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Pandemic travel curbs have hammered the kingdom’s tourism-dominated economy, sending visitor numbers dwindling to a trickle.

Fully vaccinated travellers will now be able to enter under the “test and go” scheme as long as they take Covid tests on the first and fifth days after arriving, spokesman for the country’s Covid-19 taskforce Taweesin Visanuyothin told reporters.

Visitors will have to isolate at a hotel while waiting for their test results and will be required to download a tracking app to ensure they comply with the rules.

Seeking to bounce back from its worst economic performance since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Thailand launched the “test and go” scheme in November as an alternative to two weeks’ hotel quarantine.

The programme was suspended late last month over fears about Omicron, but with deaths and hospitalisations not spiking, Taweesin said it could resume, though the authorities will keep it under review.

“In case there are more infections or the situation changes, there will be a re-assessment for inbound travellers and adjust toward the sandbox scheme,” Taweesin said.

Under the sandbox programme launched last year as a first step towards resuming tourism, fully jabbed visitors spend seven nights in certain designated locations, such as the resort island of Phuket, before being allowed to travel on to the rest of Thailand.

In a further relaxation of Covid restrictions, restaurants will be allowed to serve alcohol until 11:00 pm — easing the current 9:00 pm cut-off.

The tourism ministry estimates that some five million foreign visitors will come to Thailand in 2022 — down from nearly 40 million in the year before the pandemic.

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Posted on Jan 4, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Harbors Division announces the execution of the first port agreements with Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) to formalize health and safety protocols for cruise line operations in the State of Hawaii.

Per the CDC order (copy available at https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/covid19-cruiseships.html) expiring on January 15, cruise lines with capacity to carry more than 250 persons (combined passenger and crew) and itineraries including overnight stays are required to have a formal port agreement with local port and health authorities. The port agreement must include:

  • Medical agreement outlining evacuation of passengers or crew in need of care
  • Housing agreement should quarantine or isolation of passengers or crew be needed
  • Acknowledgement of the public health response resources of the local jurisdictions and vaccination strategies implemented by the cruise lines to minimize risk of spread of COVID-19

The CDC order requires each ship to have on-board testing and medical staff to ensure proper prevention, mitigation, and response protocols and training. Additionally, Carnival and NCL have committed to full vaccination rates in addition to pre-board testing and onboard safety and cleaning protocols.

In addition to the cruise line and CDC requirements, the State of Hawaii will be requiring participation in the State’s Safe Travels digital platform to upload proof of vaccination or negative test results for cruise lines arriving in Hawaii from outside the state. Safe Travels participation will not apply to cruise lines sailing interisland.

The signed port agreements will apply until superseded by a new agreement regardless of expiration of the CDC order. The agreement also allows the State to suspend, rescind, or amend the document at any time in case of changing situations. Counties may also implement additional restrictions at any time.

“Developing these agreements with the goal of reducing potential negative impacts of cruise travel on our local health resources couldn’t have happened without invaluable guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), the Hawaii Department of Defense (DOD), the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS), and county agencies,” said Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Jade Butay. “We appreciate everyone, including the cruise line representatives, coming together to finalize the required agreements to fulfil the CDC Conditional Sailing Order.”

Notification of signed port agreements will be made through the HDOT website and social media accounts prior to the first confirmed sailings.


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What did cruise readers want in 2021? News of the restart: Travel Weekly

Johanna Jainchill

Johanna Jainchill

This list of the most-read cruise industry articles this year on TravelWeekly.com is a snapshot of a 2021, a year during which our readers were deeply interested in all aspects of the cruise restart.

Which ships would sail, and when? Would Alaska be able to restart its cruise season with Canada’s cruise ban in effect? Once ships were operating again, what was the experience was like both onboard and off? 

Two of the articles with the most clicks, predictably, were ones that first alerted readers to which ships were canceled, and then which ones were restarting. The lists were updated and stayed on our site throughout the year to serve as a guide to the restart. 

The impact of Canada’s cruise ban on Alaska

A report about whether businesses in Alaska that depend on cruise passengers would survive a second summer without ships became the second most-read cruise story of 2021.

Readers were deeply concerned about Alaska and were interested in what lawmakers were doing to change U.S. cabotage laws so that cruise ships could sail to Alaska without stopping in Canada.

A Dispatch from the first big-ship U.S. cruise

Readers naturally wanted to know what the cruise experience would be like once ships were once again embarking passengers, and a Dispatch from the first cruise to depart the U.S. since March 2020, on the Celebrity Edge, about the everchanging and perplexing rules around getting off-ship in ports, was the third most-read story.

CDC approves more ships to sail

Once the CDC began approving ships to sail, readers voraciously consumed news about which ships would be back, and from which ports. The fourth most-read web story was published in early June, when the CDC approved a total of eight ships to operate. Also popular was a report on where Carnival Cruise Line’s first ships would sail. Stories about ship starts being delayed or postponed, such as one from August about Holland America, Princess and Seabourn postponing restarts.

Given the controversy around vaccine mandates in this country, it’s unsurprising that one of the top 10 stories, from late March, was headlined: “Several cruise lines require vaccines, but not everybody is on board.”

Another Top 10 story was a September report about Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s senior vice president of sales, marketing and trade support and services offering a free cruise to the first 1,000 travel advisors who signed up or renewed their ASTA membership – the offer crashed the ASTA website.

Finally, readers were interested to see just how many Covid cases were being found on cruise ships. As it turns out, the incidence has been very low compared to the rates in the U.S., and the cruise lines appeared to be successfully containing cases before they spread in great numbers.

Looking back at the list of the most-read stories of 2020 shows what a difference a year makes.

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Survey: Omicron Effect on Travel Restart Strategy Limited

Fewer than one in five travel buyers and procurement managers expect their organizations to introduce restrictions on nonessential business travel due to the emergence of the omicron variant of Covid-19, according to a new survey of Global Business Travel Association members. 

According to the survey, conducted Dec. 6-12 by GBTA, about 17 percent of the 345 buyer members surveyed cited new restrictions, with an additional 19 percent indicating their companies were considering new restrictions. About 53 percent indicated their companies had no plans to do so, with the rest unsure. 

Health officials have cited the emergence of the omicron variant, first observed last month in South Africa and subsequently found throughout the world, as a factor in rapidly increasing Covid-19 case count totals observed in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

Several countries, including the United States, have revised entry procedures as a result of the variant’s emergence. 

About 23 percent of the GBTA member buyers surveyed indicated the omicron variant likely would disrupt their organizations’ plans to let employees attend in-person meetings.

The vast majority of the 309 GBTA member suppliers surveyed indicated they were concerned about the effect of the variant on business travel demand. Nearly 90 percent of suppliers said they anticipated omicron would have at least some negative impact on “revenue from business travelers and corporate travel customers,” while 37 percent of suppliers reported their bookings from corporate customers had declined in the two weeks following the variant’s emergence. 

Meanwhile, two-thirds of the full base of 732 respondents indicated countries should permit entry only to those international travelers who can prove they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Another 18 percent suggested unvaccinated travelers who have recovered from Covid-19 should be allowed entry, while 10 percent said there should be no entry restrictions. 

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Virgin Atlantic to restart more international services

Following the news that the US would lift a ban on
non-citizen travellers from the EU and UK, Virgin Atlantic announced it would
resume more transatlantic services this winter.

Flights from Heathrow to San Francisco restarted on 2
October, while daily Orlando and Las Vegas services will resume in November.

Virgin Atlantic said it saw a 600 per cent increase in
bookings to the US following President Joe Biden’s announcement in September.

In addition, the carrier will launch new flights to the
Caribbean, including London-St Vincent on 13 October, The Bahamas on 20
November and St Lucia on 18 December.

Manchester airport will also see a boost to services as operations
to Islamabad resume on 8 October followed by the Orlando and New York routes in
November and Atlanta in December.

Virgin Atlantic will also launch its first international
service from Edinburgh airport to Barbados on 5 December.

Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer, commented: “As
global travel restrictions ease and connecting passengers with loved ones and
colleagues becomes a reality, we’re looking forward to welcoming customers back
on board and transporting them to a wider range of destinations.”

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Emirates to restart Gatwick flights

Emirates has announced it will restart flights to London
Gatwick airport from 10 December as international travel restrictions ease.

The carrier will resume a daily service operated by a
Boeing B777 aircraft with first, business and economy seats. Flights will
depart Dubai International at 0740 and arrive at Gatwick at 1140 local time,
with the return journey leaving London at 1335 and land at 0040 the following
day local time.

Restarting the Gatwick service will restore Emirates’
operations to six UK airports, including Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and
Newcastle. By the end of December, the airline said it will offer 84 weekly flights to the UK.

The news follows the UK Government’s announcement that it
would simplify and relax travel restrictions for international entries next

Emirates is one of several airlines utilising the IATA
Travel Pass
, which enables travellers to access more than 1,500 Covid-19 test
labs while EU and UK citizens can also register their vaccine certificate on
the app.

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