The Cyprus Mail has taken an informal poll of how tourist airline bookings for the island are shaping up. Here’s what we found:

Easyjet from the UK: Bookings from London were sold out from July 8, the date EasyJet puts seats on sale again, to July 28.

Lufthansa: About half of flights available were sold out, and those with seats available had less than five that could still be purchased.

Wizzair: Flights from Dortmund were nearly sold out, with only a few seats available. From Vienna, however, most flights had good availability. Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, is going to add a third aircraft to its Larnaca base.

Ryanair: Flights from Brussels to Larnaca had limited availability, five seats or fewer remaining.

These informal observations seem to tally with analyst views, which now see the green shoots of recovery. That restart is being helped along by very low prices. “Ryanair is slashing flight prices by more than half and operating at a loss over the next year in a major attack on struggling rivals,” boss Michael O’Leary has revealed in an interview.

Other low-cost airlines seem to be taking a low-cost approach as well, however. Easyjet Commercial Officer Robert Carey said: “We’re passionate about helping our customers get back flying, which is why we’re offering one million seats at £29.99 for those planning on booking a holiday this summer.”

Now we are aware that airlines aren’t able to book their entire flights, as social distancing has to be maintained among passengers.

There has been an increase in seat capacity. Total European seat capacity was scheduled to be 6.6 million in the week of 15 June 2020. This is a 20.4 per cent increase week-on-week and 81.6 per cent below the 36.0 million seats of the equivalent week a year ago in 2019, according to the data from OAG/CAPA.

So, even allowing for social distancing, the numbers are encouraging for Cyprus’s beleaguered tourist industry. The government hopes to bring in at least 30 per cent of the usual number of tourists who visit the island in the summer.

As part of new enhanced hygiene protocols, throughout the flights, both cabin crew and passengers are required to wear facemasks.

Onboard magazines to be removed from the aircraft, and any onboard purchases are encouraged to be made by contactless payment. Passengers are requested to follow physical distancing measures introduced by the local health authorities and are encouraged to make all purchases prior to the flight online to minimize any possible physical contact at the airport.

(Cyprus Mail)