EasyJet PLC said flight bookings jumped more than 300 percent and holiday bookings surged by more than 600 percent week on week, after the UK laid out plans for international travel to restart, hinting that borders could reopen from the middle of May.
The UK-based airline said trips from the UK to beach destinations — such as Malaga, Alicante and Palma in Spain; Faro, Portugal; and Crete, Greece — were the most popular destinations with holidaymakers keenest to travel in August.
July and September were the next most popular months.
Shares of carriers like EasyJet, Ryanair Holdings PLC and British Airways owner IAG SA that have a large UK presence advanced on Monday after the plan to gradually reopen the economy was announced.
“We have consistently seen that there is pent-up demand for travel,” EasyJet chief executive officer Johan Lundgren said in a statement. “This surge in bookings shows that this signal from the government that it plans to reopen travel has been what UK consumers have been waiting for.”
The bookings came despite uncertainty over exactly how and when international routes can reopen.
Holidaymakers would know more on April 12 when the British government publishes a travel review. It has said that a lockdown ban on most international travel would stay until at least May 17.
The UK’s vaccine plan is progressing rapidly and more than 17.7 million people, or one-quarter of the population, have already had a first dose of the jab.
That gives hope to airlines and travel companies desperate to start earning revenues after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that the UK would roll back holiday bans and quarantine restrictions and allow travel from the middle of May.
Foreign governments also need to agree that British holidaymakers can visit without the need for quarantine. France and Spain, for instance, have shut their borders to Britons due to new variants of the novel coronavirus.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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