Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to restart passenger flights to 17 additional destinations from August 2020.
The move comes after plans to restart the first passenger flights from London Heathrow to Los Angeles, New York JFK, and Hong Kong from 20 July were unveiled by the airline.
The 17 additional destinations include Barbados, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, and Lagos as well as several US airports including San Francisco, Miami, and Atlanta.
The airline said measures would be put in place at the airport and onboard to ensure the health and safety of customers and staff.
These include enhanced cleaning practices at check in, boarding gates and onboard including the use of electrostatic spraying of high-grade disinfectant, observing social distancing wherever possible, and offering a simplified hot food service
Each passenger will receive a personal health pack containing medical grade face masks that are required to be worn onboard, surface wipes and hand gel.
Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer, Virgin Atlantic said: “We are monitoring external conditions extremely closely, in particular the travel restrictions many countries have in place including the 14 day quarantine policy for travellers entering the UK.
“We know that as the COVID-19 crisis subsides, air travel will be a vital enabler of the UK’s economic recovery. Therefore, we are calling for UK government to continually review its quarantine measures and instead look at a multi-layered approach of carefully targeted public health and screening measures, including air bridges, which will support a successful and safe restart of international air travel for passengers and businesses.”
The airline has continued to operate cargo-only flights to help keep global supply chains running and transport essential supplies around the world. Throughout June, the airline plans to operate more than 600 cargo-only services, serving destinations including Delhi, Chicago, Brussels, Johannesburg, Lagos and Miami.
Virgin Atlantic is also partnering with the Department for Health and the NHS, working with them on 17 cargo charters per week from Shanghai and Beijing throughout June and July, bringing in medical supplies frontline staff in the UK urgently need to care for coronavirus patients.
So far, Virgin Atlantic has brought over 44 million items of PPE from China to the UK, according to the airline.
In May the airline announced plans to slash 3,150 jobs across its workforce due to the coronavirus crisis.
The company, majority owned by Virgin tycoon Richard Branson, warned a recovery in air travel could take up to three years, with travel fears and lockdowns hammering passenger numbers.