LONDON — Greece’s plan to open to tourism May 15 – with conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic – has British Airways jockeying for position to use bigger jets on shorter routes to popular areas in the country.
That would put the airline, the industry brought to a near standstill by the pandemic, in a spot to gain more revenues as others scramble to fly to Greece, expected to be a world favorite for travelers this year.
The United Kingdom and Greece have ramped up vaccination campaigns and Greece said tourists with proof of being inoculated or showing a negative COVID-19 test would be welcome.
The New Democracy government is eager to kick start tourism, the country’s biggest revenue engine, to bolster a staggering economy, the sector having been on a run of consecutive record years before COVID-19 struck.
British Airways sources not named told the financial news agency Bloomberg the airline – UK tourists are a big market in Greece – will use some of its biggest airplanes to carry more people into the country for summer vacations.
At its London Heathrow hub, the airline has a long idle fleet of twin-aisle Boeing Co. 787s, 777s and Airbus SE A350s that can carry up to twice as many people as the single-aisle jets that typically ply European routes. Many of the larger planes are available because long-distance destinations they normally serve are still largely off-limits and unlikely to open as quickly as regional flights.
The plan, however, will depend on whether enough people book flights to Greece as the UK said they won’t be allowed to travel until that time anyway, the report also added.
British Airways said it kept its operation under constant review, declining to comment on specific plans but the industry hopes that pent-up demand will see waves of people eager to travel again after being shut out for more than a year.