Ryanair announces new flight routes
Despite warnings of flights being severely affected under post-Brexit concerns, coupled with the travel restrictions of COVID-19, Ryanair has unveiled a number of new flight routes for summer 2021.
The future of the travel and aviation industry within the UK remains under great pressure, with it still uncertain as to when holiday abroad can resume. As it stands, the UK government has declared it illegal to travel abroad without a valid reason, with rule-breakers set to face a GBP 5,000 fine.
Whilst a date for the resumption of travelling abroad for the UK is yet to be revealed, Ryanair will release 26 new flight routes to a range of popular destinations this summer. Some of the new flight routes include popular holiday destinations such as France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Discover Ryanair’s new flight destinations for summer 2021 and what the future looks like for the UK travel industry.
What are Ryanair’s new flight routes for summer 2021?
Ryanair’s new schedule features 26 new flight destinations, most of which involve Belfast airports. Some of the new flight routes include:
- Belfast: Alicante, Malaga, Palma, Faro, Barcelona, Ibiza, Milan and Valencia
- London: Santorini, Preveza, Rodez and Zakynthos
- Birmingham: Rhodes and Poznan
- Edinburgh: Naples and Knock
- Liverpool: Košice and Kaunas
- Manchester: Knock and Bucharest
- Teesside: Alicante and Palma
- Bristol: Treviso
- Bournemouth: Bergerac
- Leeds: Chania
- Newcastle: Chania
Ryanair’s announcement of new flight routes for summer 2021 comes as it’s revealed that the earliest date travel could resume is 17th May. Whilst the Global Travel Taskforce will unveil possibilities for how travel abroad can resume next month, some government ministers are doubtful of a return in May, believing August to be more likely.
The airline is hopeful that travel abroad can resume in the not too distant future, given the UK’s successful coronavirus vaccination programme. However, a supply shortage looks to delay the vaccination campaign, which could in turn cause a delay in the resumption of travel.
Impact of Ryanair’s new flight routes
Ryanair has highlighted its commitment to offering low-cost fares across a number of holiday hot spots, in a bid to make flights and travel more attractive and affordable to customers amid this uncertain period. To support customers further, the airline has offered an extension to their zero-flight change fee, which allows customers to have two free flight changes before October 31 2021, with the deadline previously March 31.
The airline has also followed the likes of EasyJet by extending travel vouchers to 31st December. The vouchers were introduced to help those who had been impacted by travel restrictions. Usually, the vouchers must be used within 12 months but many airlines are extending the period.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary stated, “Ryanair is pleased to offer even more choice and lower fares to our UK customers and their families with over 2,300 weekly flights and 480 routes to choose from, including 26 exciting new holiday connections.”
Flights critical to tourism growth
Ryanair resumed their flights in July 2020, having grounded flights during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s hoped that adding these further flight destinations to their schedule will help boost tourism growth. The travel industry has taken a significant hit during the pandemic, with thousands of holidays forced into cancellation, with it still uncertain as to when Brits can resume holidays abroad.
MP, Gavin Robinson has stated how new flight routes not only create more options for travellers but also inject some desperately needed confidence back into the travel industry.
Brexit risks to flights are ‘underestimated’
Ryanair had previously warned that the risk to flights due to a no-deal Brexit has been underestimated and would make flights between the UK and EU around the time of the UK’s exit from the European Union impossible.
Travel Secretary, Grant Shapps, had revealed the possibility that flight from the UK to EU countries could be grounded from 1st January 2021, if a no-deal Brexit arose.
Although a Brexit trade deal was agreed last December, relations between the UK and EU remain rocky due to vaccine issues as well as disruptions in post-Brexit trade. Pre-Brexit, the UK and EU airlines were free to take whichever flight routes they wanted under the ‘open skies’ agreement. As the end of the Brexit transition period approached, Shapps indicated that there was no agreement in place for such flights to continue in the new year. He did, however, acknowledge how crucial it was for flights between the UK and the EU to continue operating past the Brexit transition period, regardless of the outcome of trade negotiations.
Many travellers will also feel wary about travelling to the EU post-Brexit due to passport changes, new data roaming charges and new visa and border control regulations.
Whilst Ryanair’s new flight destinations are a positive step for the travel industry but only time will tell how ongoing COVID-19 and post-Brexit concerns will affect tourism in the long term.