Jet2 will suspend flights and holidays until at least 23 June due to uncertainty over the UK government,s travel proposals, the budget airline’s chief executive Steve Heapy announced on Friday.
Jet2 is one of the most popular airlines flying to Cyprus from the UK. Its decision to suspend all flights until late June will undoubtedly be a hard blow for tourism in the island.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday it was too soon to say whether international summer holidays can go ahead this year, a remark suggesting a planned reopening of outbound travel could be pushed back beyond May 17, the earliest date it may start.
Britons are Cyprus’ largest group of tourists so the fortunes of the island’s summer season and the travel industry, hit hard by restrictions imposed on travel because of the Covid-19 pandemic, will largely depend on when British tourists can return in the upcoming months.
Speaking to Sky News, Heapy said he had been “extremely disappointed at the lack of clarity and detail” in the plans announced by the UK government.
“Because of the continued uncertainty that the framework provides, it is with a heavy heart that we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including 23 June 2021,” he said.
“Where customers yet to travel are affected by any programme changes, we will automatically cancel their booking with a full refund, and our team of travel experts will be in touch to help them to book their summer getaway for later in the year.
“After several weeks exploring how to restart international travel, with substantial assistance and input from the industry, the framework lacks any rigorous detail about how to get international travel going again. In fact, the framework is virtually the same as six months ago.
“We know how much our customers want to get away to enjoy their well-deserved holidays. We have seen buoyant confidence levels from UK holidaymakers.
“We are trying to run a business so that we can take customers away, but we need the government to provide us with clarity to achieve this,” Heapy concluded.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren also criticised the Johnson’s uncertainty and said the plan was “a blow to all travellers” and risked “making flying only for the wealthy.”