Published on Monday, July 13, 2020

Scottish agents 'appalled' as TUI cancels all summer flights from Aberdeen

Travel agents in Scotland have expressed concern after TUI announced it has axed its entire summer 2020 flight programme out of Aberdeen.

Ten flights a week during the peak summer season to destinations including Majorca, Tenerife, Ibiza, and Reus in Spain as well Turkey and Rhodes, have all been cancelled.

The operator said it would be focussing on flying from its largest UK airports in the coming months. It plans to return to Aberdeen in October with two flights a week to Tenerife.

Agents said they were 'devastated' and 'shocked' by the news, while the Scottish Passenger Agents' Association (SPAA) said the situation was 'appalling' and feared some flight routes might not return.

SPAA President Joanne Dooey said: "This is simply appalling news for Scottish travellers and travel agents alike.

"There has been so much uncertainty about when people can travel from Scotland, and where they can travel to, for weeks."

TUI's announcement follows the Scottish Government's decision last week to omit Spain from its list of countries that holidaymakers north of the border can visit without having to quarantine.

"The omission of Spain from the 'green light' list of countries where Scots can travel without quarantine has led to insecurity for both holidaymakers and the travel trade," Dooey added.

"We have been warning for weeks about the possible loss of flight routes and the impact this will have on travellers and the Scottish economy, not just for this summer but potentially for years to come. It is questionable if, once we lose a flight route, we will ever see it return.

"The travel sector is a close knit community and we all feel for our friends and colleagues at TUI as we know this will have been an extremely difficult decision for them, however, we fear this may not be the last announcement of this kind in the sector.

"With any loss of flights like there is there is the risk of job losses too."

TUI said: "In light of the unprecedented halt on worldwide travel, our teams have been busy reviewing and planning for travel post-Covid-19. We're taking a dynamic approach to restarting our holidays, in line with government advice and the evolving demand for travel, focussing first on flying from our largest UK airports to destinations where we believe air bridge agreements will be in place.

"We've therefore had to make the incredibly difficult decision to cancel our summer flying programme from Aberdeen in 2020. However, we plan to resume flights from Aberdeen from 4 October 2020 to ensure they are available in time for the half-term holidays.

"Throughout winter we'll be running twice-weekly flights from Aberdeen to Tenerife and we will, of course, be welcoming Aberdeen back to our summer holiday programme in 2021, offering a fuller range of TUI destinations.

"We know how much our customers value flying from our regional airports, so we thank them for their patience during this extraordinary time, and we can't wait to be taking them away again from Aberdeen from October."

One holidaymaker told the local Evening Express: "I am appalled it has taken so long for TUI to announce all summer flights are cancelled. We had to pay the full balance of our holiday just three weeks ago. They must have known then the holiday would be cancelled."

Roger Hunt, Interim Managing Director at Aberdeen International Airport, said: "The uncertainty for the airlines and passengers introduced by quarantine has unfortunately contributed to the decision by TUI not to re-commence flights for summer 2020 from Aberdeen International Airport however it is pleasing that we can continue to offer passengers flights to Alicante, Malaga and Faro this year with Ryanair.

"We remain committed to working closely with our airline partners on the introduction of sustainable summer sun routes for summer 2021 and beyond."

By Lisa James, Deputy Editor (UK)

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  • TUI only base Scottish aircraft at Glasgow

    TUI should consider basing aircraft at EDI and ABZ.It's not convenient for pax to overland for the bulk of its flights. A competitor offering long-haul charters from EDI/ABZ would correct an anomaly.

    By Joe Curry, Monday, July 13, 2020

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