Roadmap to Recovery: UK Aviation ‘Takes-Off’, Again

Following a previous announcement of a three-tiered traffic light system to resume travel internationally, aviation in the UK once again “took-off” today, with the resumption of holidays overseas. We followed the path of British Airways’ BA492 service to Gibraltar which departed this morning at 07:10am – marking the start of the roadmap to recovery for the industry.

British Airways A321 departs
British Airways Airbus A321 taking off | © Nick Morrish via British Airways

The First Flight Post-May 17th

This morning British Airways’ BA492 flight from Heathrow to Gibraltar took off at 07:10am, the airline’s first flight to a ‘green list’ destination. Britain’s three-tiered system came into force this morning, marking the end of foreign holidays being illegal and foreign travel only for essential purposes.

The airline is operating a number of flights throughout the day (May 17) to other destinations on the UK’s ‘green list’. These include a flight to Lisbon, three flights to Faro and one flight to Funchal in Madeira. The airline has suspended flights to Tel Aviv in-light of recent conflict and the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians.

On May 17 in 2019, the airline operated hundreds of flights, compared to just 70 departures* that it plans to operate today, highlighting the devastating impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the airline industry.

This morning British Airways and Heathrow Airport Limited hosted a virtual conference from British Airways’ home at Terminal 5 with its CEOs, Sean Doyle and John Holland-Kaye.

Speaking during the conference, Sean Doyle, British Airways Chairman and CEO, said: Today, the first day of a return to international travel, is a special day for many people, because for so long now families have been separated, business has suffered, and we know that our customers haven’t been able to take the breaks abroad that they’ve wanted. After more than a year of limited flying, we’re pleased to be back in the skies – albeit with a very small number of flights.”

VeriFly App being trialled by BA

 Introduction of COVID-Secure Measures whilst flying

The airline has introduced changes to the flying experience to help ensure a frictionless experience, including trials of travel apps to upload documentation and a virtual queuing system, as well as the introduction of pre-flight food ordering for Euro traveller customers and delivery of menu items in the lounges to seats by QR code – the airport equivalent to “table-service” required for indoor hospitality under current restrictions.

British Airways also recently launched its new advertising campaign, putting its people and its customers at the centre of the story about its return to the skies. Over the coming months those flying with the airline will receive a special welcome back with personalised boarding announcements, cards and chocolates.

COVID-19 Testing, British Airways


Customers travelling with British Airways can do so with peace of mind, as the airline has introduced a range of safety measures to make the travel experience simple and safe during and after the pandemic. Customers can visit the airline’s Covid-19 hub page to find out more information on all of the safety measures in place.

British Airways has consistently championed testing as way to re-open travel safely and has ensured its customers have access to a wide range of discounted Covid-19 pre-departure, return to the UK and arrivals testing options. The future remains uncertain, but a roadmap to recovery is hoped to be underway.

When will you next be travelling? Let us know your thoughts on post-pandemic travel in the comments below!

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