BA adds extra seats on key routes as bookings rocket 95% after rules change

By Luke Barras-hill |

Source: BA.

British Airways says new bookings from the US ballooned by 95% in the hours after the UK government relaxed restrictions on arrivals from Amber list countries.

As reported yesterday, double-jabbed travellers from destinations including the US and EU will no longer need to quarantine as of 4am on Monday 2 August.

The surge in bookings from cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Geneva and Hamburg offers an important signal that confidence in travel is restoring.

This in turn provides another fillip for physical events such as the inaugural Travel Retail Consumer Forum hosted by TRBusiness and m1nd-set, plus the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes.

Luis Gallego, Chief Executive Officer, IAG.


The IAG-owned airline has added extra flights to allow EU and US citizens to connect to a range of UK destinations including Newquay, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Effective 16 August, frequencies between New York-JFK and London Heathrow will rise to 21 services per week (up from 17 per week) with Los Angeles and Chicago up to 10 per week (from seven per week).

From 23 August, travellers will enjoy the choice of seven services per week between Seattle and London Heathrow (up from four per week), while Los Angeles will further increase to 14 per week.

There are also plans to add extra flights from European cities such as Berlin, Geneva and Hamburg, which will be continually reviewed.

British Airways, Heathrow Airport and Virgin Atlantic recently conducted a successful 10-day trial to demonstrate that the government’s amber policy for fully vaccinated travellers could be rapidly expanded for US and EU citizens.

It involved fully vaccinated passengers on selected flights from Los Angeles, New York, Montego Bay and Athens agreeing to share their vaccination statuses at their departure airports.

Luis Gallego, Chief Executive Officer, IAG said: “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 re-opening the transatlantic travel corridor.”

Heathrow Airport, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic undertook a successful 10-day trial for fully vaccinated passengers on selected flights from the US and the EU. This showed that vaccination statuses could be rapidly checked to help towards a safe reopening of the skies. Source: Heathrow Airport.

Media outlets including Reuters and BBC have today quoted the IAG CEO as saying that the firm could reach 75% of its pre-pandemic capacity in the final few months of this year.

The development comes as the Iberia and Aer Lingus owner today posted an operating loss of €2,182 million in the six months ending 30 June 2021.

Total revenue dropped 58.2% during the period year-on-year to €2,212m.

“All our airlines continue to take significant actions to preserve their strength through the current pandemic and to position them for recovery,” said Gallego in the results statement.

“We continue to build resilience by preserving cash, boosting liquidity and reducing our cost base. At 30 June, the Group’s liquidity was €10.2 billion with a significant improvement in operating cash flow compared to previous quarters.”

IAG has not offering profit guidance for 2021 due to the uncertainty over the timing and lifting of government travel restrictions and the continued impact of Covid-19.


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