Airlines are scrambling to navigate fast-degrading travel outlook amid fears of Omicron Coronavirus variant

Airlines, passengers and businesses have scrambled to deal with a series of travel restrictions announced over the weekend to slow the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant.

An initial series of flight bans from southern Africa, where omicrons were first detected, has given way to broader measures that will make travel more expensive and less convenient – if possible – recall the earlier days of the pandemic.

The UK re-introduced mandatory PCR testing to all arriving passengers and said they must self-isolate until a negative result is received. Israel closed its doors to all foreign nationals for 14 days, the Philippines said visitors from European countries including Switzerland and the Netherlands would not be welcome for several weeks and Singapore delayed the rollout of routes. Vaccinated travel with Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
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Spain and Switzerland tightened access for arrivals from Britain, whose return to tourism was quickly reversed. British low-cost carrier EasyJet Plc on Sunday said its flight schedule remained as normal, “but we continue to monitor the situation closely.”

While the full impact will be more apparent in the coming days, “this will be problematic for business travel – especially to the UK,” said Martin Ferguson, spokesman for American Express Global Business Travel. said.

Organizers of the World Aviation Festival in London say event attendees will go ahead as scheduled starting Tuesday, the day the new UK rules go into effect. The team arranged for testing at two nearby hotels, where guest delegates could self-isolate while awaiting results.

A separate, internal company event in the UK has been switched to a combination of in-person words, as new testing and isolation requirements will see some attendees expected to arrive on Tuesday, according to the report. someone familiar with the matter.

Coronavirus ear swab test at Schiphol Airport for tourists
© 2020 Bloomberg Finance LP Travelers wait to be admitted to the Covid-19 testing center at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

Impact of Omicron on leisure tourism

Alex Irving, an analyst at Bernstein in London, said: “Recreational travel will also have an impact, while friends and loved ones visiting loved ones after a long absence are more likely to experience it. through a tour, says Alex Irving, an analyst at Bernstein in London.

“Christmas pre-orders will obviously be weaker than we expected against the omicron variant,” he said. “When you add barriers to travel, such as PCR tests and isolation requirements, all that does is change the incentives.

Airlines now face the uncertainty of changing regulations and public health developments that have thrown customer plans into chaos and undermined previous demand during the pandemic. Translate.

For example, British Airways has suspended flights to Hong Kong for at least 30 November after an employee tested positive for Covid-19 and the employee was placed under quarantine. The airline said it was reviewing its operations as the situation evolved.

Singapore and Japan are among the countries that have said they are considering tighter border restrictions.

The risk of a second lost winter has dampened share prices in airline stocks, with the Bloomberg EMEA Airline Index falling 18% this month. This will make it harder to raise new capital to fix the balance sheet – IAG SA, the parent company of British Airways, has net debt of 12.4 billion euros ($14 billion).

John Strickland, head of London-based JLS Consulting, said: “This comes at a time of year when airlines will be looking to boost liquidity and profitability to a modest extent, and after 18 months of running out of revenue is already difficult”. Airlines are scrambling to navigate fast-degrading travel outlook amid fears of Omicron Coronavirus variant

Aila Slisco

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