BRITISH AIRWAYS’ owners IAG have announced plans that it is hoping to re-start flights in July if coronavirus lockdown measures are eased.
The International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), who also own Aer Lingus, said that this would all depend on travel restrictions being lifted around the world. They also said that they did not think passenger demand would recover for air travel before 2023. IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, said: “We are planning for a meaningful return to service in July 2020 at the earliest, depending on the easing of lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world. We will adapt our operating procedures to ensure our customers and our people are properly protected in this new environment.
“However, we do not expect passenger demand to recover to the level of 2019 before 2023 at the earliest.”
Since March, passenger numbers for the airline have dropped by 94 percent.
Most of the airlines planes are also currently grounded due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The flight announcement, which has sparked hope for Britons future holidays, comes after IAG reported a staggering operating loss.
The company said it lost €535million (£466.6million) in the first three months of this year.
Reportedly, most of the loss occurred in the last two weeks of March 2020.
Just one year earlier, the company made a profit of €135million (£109million).
British Airways has also cut 29 percent of its 42,000 jobs due to the coronavirus which equates to a total of 12,000 jobs.
IAG said that it had to impose a “restructuring and redundancy programme” until demand for air travel increased.
The company said previously in a statement: “The proposals remain subject to consultation, but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them.”
BA, like many other airlines, has been running a limited service during the pandemic.
Repatriation flights to rescue Britons stranded abroad were just some of the journeys they operated.
At the end of March, the airline made the decision to ground flights from Gatwick Airport because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The airlines Gatwick managing director Adam Carson told workers at the time: “Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick.”
A British Airways spokesperson said in a statement: “Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick.
“We are contacting affected customers to discuss their options.”
BA is not the only airline to announce plans to resume flights.
Wizz Air has already resumed some flights from Luton Airport.
The airline became the first in Europe to continue its services following the coronavirus outbreak.
The budget airline also announced five new routes which include Faro in Portugal and Corfu, Heraklion, Rhodes and Zakynthos in Greece.
However, the new routes will begin in mid-June for Portugal and July for locations in Greece.