By Jose Antonio Payet
European Airlines Increase Flying Capacity
Europe is preparing for a busy summer season as vaccination campaigns continue to take place and more people become inoculated against COVID-19. According to FlightGlobal, the number of aircraft parked for more than a week on the continent has more than halved between May and June as airlines prepare to take people on holiday.
According to the European Travel Commission, 56% of Europeans expect to travel this summer. While almost 40% of those expect to do so within their own country, airlines have high hopes for leisure travel this summer, as many passengers are exited to venture out for the first time since the pandemic.
Iberia is expecting a busier summer period after operating at 40% capacity throughout the first months of 2021. The airline believes that there is significant contained demand which will increase as travel restrictions are lifted. For the summer, the carrier has increased the number of frequencies from Spain to destinations in Italy and Greece.
Iberia has also resumed a bunch of services between Madrid and South America and will operate more than 90 weekly frequencies between Spain and Latin America. The airline is operating 12 flights between Madrid and Mexico City and one daily flight to Lima, Santiago de Chile, Bogota and Sao Paulo each.
As Spain opens its borders to vaccinating travelers, it is expected that more South American travelers will head to Spain for holidays. While the rate of vaccination remains sluggish in some countries, more South American flyers will be eligible to travel to Spain in the coming months as these rates pace up. Additionally, travelers who have benefitted from vaccine tourism in the U.S., whose numbers are not minor, can travel to Spain showing proof of vaccination.
In neighboring France, Air France also has big plans for the summer season. Throughout the summer, the airline will operate 81 seasonal routes, increasing capacity to Greece by almost 80% and to Portugal by nearly 25%. For long-haul, as the French Antilles opened to tourists again; Air France will operate up to three flights per week from Paris-Orly to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe, Fort-de-France in Martinique and Saint-Denis de la Reunión.
For this, Air France is bringing 22 aircraft back to service. In total, 181 Air France aircraft will be in operation this summer, representing 90% of its fleet.
Lufthansa, meanwhile, has announced seasonal services from Frankfurt including Paphos in Cyprus, Rijeka in Croatia, Lamezia in Italy, and Varna in Bulgaria. From Munich, the German carrier will fly to destinations such as Jerez in Spain and Chania, Mykonos and Zakynthos in Greece.
Lufthansa’s low cost branch, Eurowings, is flying from Frankfurt to Anchorage, Punta Cana, Zanzibar in Tanzania with a stop in Mombasa in Kenya from July 24th.