TUI UK completes customer repatriation as final flights lands

The arrival of 265 passengers at Birmingham Airport from Cancun has marked the end of a mammoth repatriation programme mounted from TUI UK in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The long-haul flight was the final part of a finely orchestrated operation bringing 45,000 holidaymakers home.

The complex process was planned as government and local authority advice changed and countries closed their borders. 

Hundreds more holidaymakers, unable to get home with the airlines they had travelled with, were also repatriated by TUI from destinations including Goa, Jamaica, Turkey, Spain and Marrakech.

The flights could not have been operated without the efforts of 964 TUI cabin crew and 362 flight crew team members, who put in over 11,000 flying hours to get customers home.

The repatriation effort was supported on the ground by over 2,500 TUI destination reps overseas who were on hand to help customers as they waited in their hotels and resorts before.

In the last ten days 192 TUI airways flights have taken off from 30 overseas airports in destinations across the world from Spain, Turkey and Greece to Mexico, Costa Rica and Thailand, bringing customers and 320 overseas destination reps back to 16 UK airports.

Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK & I, commented: “I don’t think anyone could have imagined just a few months ago that we would be where we are today.

“We have dealt with the largest repatriation operation our business has ever seen, bringing 45,000 of our own customers, and hundreds of other holidaymakers, back from overseas, and now our operation, and the entire, travel industry is temporarily ‘on pause’.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who played their part in getting our customers home as safely and as quickly as possible.”

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Cunard and P&O Cruises extended sailing suspension until May

Cunard and P&O Cruises have extended the suspension of all voyages as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow around the world.

Both Carnival Corporation-owned lines will not set sail again until at least May 15th.

Cunard said it would continue to monitor government guidelines and travel restrictions in ports of call around the world, and this may mean there are further changes to the timing of when each of the ships returns to service. 

Simon Palethorpe, president of Cunard, said: “The impact of Covid-19 is affecting personal routines and businesses as well as placing significant travel restrictions around the world.

“Everyone in the Cunard team is aware of the need to support the management and containment of Covid-19 globally.

“This includes protecting the health and safety of our guests and crew. It is therefore right we extend the pause in operations.”

Cunard and P&O Cruises guests who were due to sail between April 11th and May 15th will automatically receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit. 

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, added: “It is clear that our original date of April 11th to resume sailings, which would have been a 30 day pause in operations, is just not feasible in light of the government announcements last week.

“Regrettably, therefore, we are now extending this pause until May.

“Given the current guidelines it is prudent and practical to extend the pause until normal operations can be resumed.

“As we work through the evolving restriction on ports around the world future itineraries may be subject to change and so we are looking at how we phase our ships back into service.”


For all the latest from Breaking Travel News on the coronavirus pandemic, take a look here.

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Singapore Airlines secures rescue funding to overcome Covid-19 downturn

Singapore Airlines will offer all shareholders S$5.3 billion in new equity and up to a further S$9.7 billion through a ten-year mandatory convertible bonds.

Both will be offered on a pro-rata basis via a rights issue, and both issuances will be treated as equity in the company’s balance sheet.

Singapore Airlines’ majority shareholder, state-fund Temasek Holdings, said it would underwrite the sale of shares and convertible bonds for up to S$15 billion.

The carrier said it would use the cash to weather the Covid-19 storm and to expand once it has passed.

Singapore Airlines has also arranged a S$4 billion bridge loan facility with DBS Bank.

This money would be used to support the company’s near-term liquidity requirements, the airline added, until the share offering could be completed.

Singapore Airlines chairman, Peter Seah, said: “This is an exceptional time for the SIA Group.

“Since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, passenger demand has fallen precipitously amid an unprecedented closure of borders worldwide.

“We moved quickly to cut capacity and implement cost-cutting measures.”

He added: “We have also worked closely with the Singapore government to bring Singaporeans home safely during this time.

“At the same time, we are also working with various parties to enable our staff on no-pay leave to have other income opportunities.

“We are especially grateful for Temasek’s strong vote of confidence.

“The board is confident that this package of new funding will ensure that SIA is equipped with the resources to overcome the current challenges, and be in a position of strength to grow and reinforce our leadership in the aviation sector.”

The aviation sector is a key pillar of Singapore’s economy, supporting more than 12 per cent of the country’s GDP and 375,000 jobs.

The group is at the heart of the aviation ecosystem, with SIA, SilkAir and Scoot accounting for more than half of the passengers flying in and out of Changi Airport.


For all the latest from Breaking Travel News on the coronavirus pandemic, take a look here.

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Woman travels the world NAKED to prove being nude isn’t ‘sexual or weird’

Sterre, 21, is better known to her 166k followers as a.naked girl – an Instagram account full of her nude poses in nature.

The Dutch blogger – who was inspired to get naked by Australians – will often flash her perky butt in the most serene hotspots.

“I wanted to spread body positivity and show people being nude is not sexual or weird,” she said.

In one of her recent posts, which secured over 17,000 likes, she seemed to flash a train packed with travellers.

Wearing nothing but a pair of wellies, the blonde dropped her pants as she waved down the red train by a secluded lake.

The post read: “Have a good trip people in the train!!! Follow my backup account @a.naked_girl or follow me on Twitter.”

But this isn’t the first time she’s dared to bare in public places.

In her latest snap, the Instagrammer walked through an abandoned train station in Belgium.

Posing with her pair of Timberlands, Sterre captioned the post: “Perfect place to visit while being nude. Do you know more abandoned places in the Netherlands or Belgium.”

She revealed said stumbling on the famous Get Naked Australia page “changed her life” and encouraged her to go nude.

“It inspired me,” said Sterre. “It looked like great fun and I decided I needed to try it.”

Sterre moved to the land Down Under and found plenty of hidden spots to strip off.

And the more she did it – the more she got hooked on it.

She continued: “I love natural in general and with clothes on it’s still enjoyable. But enjoying nature naked, it’s an incomparable experience.”

Meanwhile, this hottie isn’t the only one to drop her clothes for a cheeky snap on Instagram.

Belgian couple, Lins and Nic, travelled the world in the nude. And another showed tourists stripping in wild places.

If you’re courageous enough to brave the cold, here are five winter vacations for people who love holidaying in the buff.

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Bench Events to launch Hospitality Tomorrow online conference

Bench Events is organising a complete online conference to bring together industry leaders to discuss the unprecedented economic circumstances caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

The event will address what the industry can do collectively to rebuild confidence.

The virtual conference will take place on April 7th from 10:00-16:00 BST and registration is free of charge for all participants.

However, an optional donation is requested to selected charities helping out those in the hospitality industry, suffering from the worst effects of the coronavirus.

Puneet Chhatwal, chief executive, Indian Hotels, said: “With Covid-19 sweeping across the globe, many companies in the hospitality industry are facing an unprecedented threat.

“As we will combat the pandemic much better united than divided, we all need to come together to share ideas.

“This meeting on the internet will set a great example of what we can do by thinking in a bold and imaginative way.”

Bench Events has lined up a stellar list of speakers, including: Paul Stoltz, the world’s leading expert and consultant on resilience and creator of the Adversity Quotient; Roger Bootle, the award-winning founder of Capital Economics; Najib Balala, cabinet secretary, ministry of tourism and wildlife, Kenya; Roger Dow, president of the United States Travel Association; and dozens of top executives from across the hospitality industry worldwide.

Topics on the agenda will cover the economics of coronavirus, how to survive the greatest adversity of our time, the nine essential leadership behaviours needed in a crisis, and the outlook to recovery.

Discussions will be moderated by the presenter of HARDtalk and conference chair, Stephen Sackur, and Anita Mendiratta, special advisor to the secretary general of the UNWTO.

State of the art video conferencing technology will be used to bring virtual main-stage panel sessions to an audience of up to 100,000 online participants.

The plenary debates will be complemented by more focussed roundtables, drilling into the detail of specific subjects.

People joining remotely will be able to ask questions and post comments in real time, using a live chat facility.

Jonathan Worsley, founder, Bench Events, concluded: “Devastating is the word most governments are using to describe the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on society and the economy.

“The sector that stands to suffer the most is travel and hospitality.

“Today, nothing is certain, except that our world will never be the same again. We need business leaders to come together to discuss the best strategies to cope with the immediate crisis and to plan how to capitalise on the recovery when it comes.

“That is what Hospitality Tomorrow will do.”

More Information

More information about the agenda, speakers and how to register can be found on the official website.

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Wizz Air cuts services, reassures passengers on long-term survival

Wizz Air has grounded around 85 per cent of its fleet and mooted the possibility of a complete suspension of services in its latest operational update.

While capacity at the low-cost carrier fell by only 30 per cent year-on-year in March, much larger cuts are expected next month.

The company continues to operate 15 per cent of its capacity and remains operational in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria.

However, even this limited service could be cut as potential additional travel restrictions and social distancing policies issued by authorities may make international flying for commercial purposes either untenable or impossible.

For the avoidance of doubt, Wizz Air emphasised it would resume all flights as soon as reduced travel restrictions and governmental policies allow commercial operations.

József Váradi, Wizz Air chief executive, added: “Our ever-disciplined attitude to cost and cash enables Wizz Air to take decisions that are right for crew, passengers and communities even in the context of demand and travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe.

“Wizz Air’s ultra-low-cost business model and our strong balance sheet provide a solid foundation and a significant competitive advantage in the current challenging environment for airlines, while also making us a long-term structural winner in the aviation sector.”

To secure its financial position during the reduction in capacity, however, the company has implemented additional cost-reduction measures in third-party spending, overhead spending, discretionary spending and non-essential capital expenditure.

Wizz has also rolled out a series of voluntary working hour reduction and leave options to employees.

“While difficult to predict the duration of the pandemic, given the significant balance sheet strength and liquidity, as well as the company’s business model, Wizz Air is confident in its ability to survive even a potential prolonged grounding substantially beyond the current estimates for the impact of Covid-19 in Europe,” Váradi concluded.


For all the latest from Breaking Travel News on the coronavirus pandemic, take a look here.

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British Airways boss shares flight sleep tip – including how to prevent jet-lag

A British Airways boss has shared his anti-jet lag tip.

Wille Walsh says it’s vital to sleep on the plane if you want to feel refreshed when you land.

And to do this, the CEO of BA owner IAG, recommends enjoying a glass of wine or two.

Willie told The Sun : “A couple of glasses helps you to sleep.

“Red wine is the cure for everything!”

  • UK’s worst airport for security delays named – and it’s not in London

While Willie is correct that a few drinks can help you to doze off, you shouldn’t overdo it.

Alcohol can mess with the quality of kip you are getting.

The Drink Aware website explains: “When you drink alcohol before bed you may fall into deep sleep quicker.

“This is why some people find drinking alcohol helps them drop-off to sleep.

“But as the night goes on you spend more time in this deep sleep and less time than usual in the more restful, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.

“This can leave you feeling tired the next day no matter how long you stay in bed.”

This isn’t the only drawback to boozing on board a flight.

Alcohol can cause dehydration, sparking symptoms like dizziness and headaches.

It can also cause your skin and lips to dry out.

So when following Willie’s tip, stick to his advice and keep your limit to a “couple” of glasses of plonk.

  • Gross plane passenger leaves 'bag full of wee' tied to seat in front of them

Want to read more flight secrets?

This is why phones are banned in the air.

Meanwhile, flight attendants revealed the biggest plane sex fails.

And previously, we shared why drinking tomato juice on the plane is a bad idea.

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Plane passenger branded a ‘disgusting pig’ for airing dirty laundry on flight

Travelling can be pretty stressful.

And when you’re stuck next to inconsiderate passengers on the plane, it certainly doesn’t help matters.

During a recent flight, holidaymakers were disgusted when a man whipped out his dirty laundry for all to see.

The barmy bloke hung his socks up by the cabin window, leaving observers baffled.

A fellow traveller was so disgusted by the man’s behaviour that they snapped a picture.

  • UK’s worst airport for security delays named – and it’s not in London

The photo was shared on the popular Passenger Shaming Instagram account, which boasts one million followers.

It was captioned with a cry laughing emoji, along with the words: “Me doing my laundry on the way to LA this weekend! #Multitasking.”

The post has racked up 5,100 likes – and hundreds of social media users also took the time to leave a comment.

Furious travel fans branded the chap “ignorant”, “classless” and a “disgusting pig”.

One responder added: “Just never fails to amaze me… WTF are they thinking…”

The post also prompted theories as to why the passenger aired out his socks in public.

One Instagram user said: “They probably just walked into the lavatory in their socks…

“It's just a little urine.. nothing the sun can't take care of.”

Another agreed: “Drying pee?”

A third asked: “What did he do? Walk to the bathroom in socks?”

Want to read about more passenger shaming stories?

Here's what happened when a holidaymaker tied a bag of "wee" to the seat in front of them.

Meanwhile, a couple disturbed fellow travellers by sitting in a very intimate position.

And earlier this month, a woman caused a stir by brushing her hair against others in the cabin.

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Africa’s Travel Indaba postponed in South Africa

Africa’s Travel Indaba has been postponed indefinitely in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak spreading around the world.

South Africa tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced the decision earlier.

The annual trade show was scheduled to take place at the Durban International Conference Centre from May 12th-14th.

Speaking at a media, Kubayi-Ngubane said: “After careful consideration, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone Africa’s Travel Indaba.

“Africa’s Travel Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar, is one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar.

“It showcases the widest variety of Africa’s best tourism products, attracts global buyers.

“The current travel restrictions imposed by various countries to contain the pandemic will inevitably lead to a greatly reduced number of participants if the event that is Africa’s Travel Indaba was to go ahead.”

Kubayi-Ngubane said that organisers also considered the risk associated with a large number of people gathering in one place when they decided to postpone the event.

“We want to ensure that this event does not contribute to the spread of this pandemic.

“The decision to postpone Indaba 2020 is also in keeping with the advice by health authorities for social distancing and limiting mass gatherings,” the minister explained.

Kubayi-Ngubane said the team reached out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about the postponement and the future plans.

New dates are expected to be announced in due course.

Sisa Ntshona, chief executive of South African Tourism, said he understood disappointment around the decision.

“I want to thank everyone who has already invested a significant amount of time, effort and resources in preparing for this year’s much-anticipated event.

“I appreciate how we, as an industry, look forward to showcasing our products, attracting new buyers and most importantly, network with our peers at Indaba.

“This decision must come as an enormous disappointment, but we as partners in tourism need to act responsibly to put our people first,” he explained.

World Travel Market – Africa, also due to be held in South Africa, was cancelled last week.


For all the latest from Breaking Travel News on the coronavirus pandemic, take a look here.

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easyJet cuts flights, looks ahead to winter recovery

easyJet has undertaken further significant cancellations in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Capacity cuts will continue on a rolling basis for the foreseeable future and could result in the grounding of the majority of the easyJet fleet, the low-cost carrier said.

To help mitigate the impact from Covid-19, easyJet said it was taking every action to remove cost and non-critical expenditure from the business at every level.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive, said: “At easyJet we are doing everything in our power to rise to the challenges of the coronavirus so that we can continue to provide the benefits that aviation brings to people, the economy and business.

“We continue to operate rescue and repatriation flights to get people home where we can, so they can be with family and friends in these difficult times.

“European aviation faces a precarious future and it is clear that coordinated government backing will be required to ensure the industry survives and is able to continue to operate when the crisis is over.”

Aircraft groundings will remove significant levels of variable costs, easyJet said.

easyJet maintains a strong balance sheet including a £1.6 billion cash balance, an undrawn $500 million revolving credit facility, unencumbered aircraft worth in excess of £4 billion and a large and valuable slot portfolio.

easyJet has no debt re-financings due until 2022 and is in ongoing discussions with liquidity providers, the carrier said.

At this stage, given the level of continued uncertainty, easyJet said it was “not possible” to provide financial guidance for the remainder of the financial year.

Winter Sale

In an effort to bring in some cash, easyJet has also brought its annual winter sale, giving customers the chance to book flights between October and February next year.

The move follows an announcement from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office that Brits should avoid all but essential travel for the next 30 days.

The discount flight sale and easyJet holidays’ winter season launch is expected to be welcomed by travellers whose Easter and summer holiday plans have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 147,000 flights are set to take place across easyJet’s network between October 25th and February 28th, providing over nine million seats for passengers.

Robert Carey, easyJet chief commercial officer, said: “We’ve taken the decision to put our flights for the winter season on sale today in order to support customers as much as possible during this time.

“To further assist customers who have had their travel plans affected easyJet has waived the change fee associated with changing their flights.

“All customers are now able to change the dates of their upcoming flights to any time before February.

“The change fee waiver applies to both existing and new bookings until further notice.”


For all the latest from Breaking Travel News on the coronavirus pandemic, take a look here.

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