BA owner IAG plans to ramp up summer flight schedules

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Flight schedules are being ramped up by British Airways’ parent company IAG, the firm has announced.

It is planning to operate around 45% of passenger capacity between July and September compared with the same period in 2019.

That is up from 21.9% during the previous three months.

Capacity for flights to the most popular leisure destinations this summer will exceed what was recorded in 2019, IAG chief executive Luis Gallego said.

But the company warned that its plans “remain uncertain and subject to ongoing review”.

It added that it “continues to be adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic together with government restrictions and quarantine requirements”.

IAG posted an operating loss of 2.03 billion euros (£1.73 billion) for the half-year to June 30, representing a reduction from the 4.05 billion euro (£3.45 billion) loss it saw for the same period in 2020.

Mr Gallego said: “In the short term, our focus is on ensuring our operational readiness, so we have the flexibility to capitalise on an environment where there’s evidence of widespread pent-up demand when travel restrictions are lifted.

“We welcome the recent announcement that fully-vaccinated travellers from amber countries in the EU and the US will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival in the UK.

“We see this as an important first step in fully reopening the transatlantic travel corridor.”

Mr Gallego said British Airways saw a 95% increase in the number of bookings for flights from the US to the UK shortly after Wednesday’s announcement on easing travel rules, compared with the same period last week.

Asked if the planned ending of the furlough in September could lead to more UK job losses, he replied: “What we would like is to have an extension of the furlough scheme until the end of the year.”

He added: “Right now, we are not considering to reduce jobs more, but for sure we need to see the evolution of the situation.

“With the plans that we have right now, our plan is to fly, people want to fly, and for that we’re going to need our people.”

In April 2020 British Airways announced it would cut up to 12,000 jobs in response to the virus crisis.

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