HOLIDAYMAKERS wanting to book a summer holiday abroad have been warned to think again, as flights are likely to remain grounded, according to the UK Transport Secretary.
MP Grant Shapps warned that he wouldn't be "booking a summer holiday at this point" due to the virus continuing to spread.
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He issued the warning following the rollover of the UK's lockdown, which will continue for another three weeks with cases of the virus hitting 100,000.
He said: "On the travel advice – should you book your holidays? – clearly people will want to see what the trajectory of this disease is in the next few weeks.
“I won't be booking a summer holiday at this point, let's put it that way."
He added, on the topic of easyJet flying half empty flights to continue social distancing: "I think it's the case that given the catastrophic impact on particularly aviation of this virus with virtually all aviation having stopped that actually it's unlikely that passenger numbers, load factors, will be so high in the first place that this will be much of a problem I imagine."
Airlines in the UK have all but grounded their fleet – easyJet planes are no longer flying, while Ryanair and British Airways are running a severely reduced service, with remaining flights primarily for rescuing tourists from abroad.
Normal scheduled routes are unlikely to return until at least mid-June.
Earlier this week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also warned against being too keen to book holidays this summer.
She told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper that she "would advise waiting with such plans".
She added: "At the moment, no one can make reliable forecasts for July and August. We will need to learn to live with this virus for many months, probably until next year."
As the virus is tracked, countries are being forced to extend their flight bans – Greece has stopped all flights until mid-May, while Thailand is banning tourists until the end of the month.
However, the bans are likely to continue into the summer months.
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Tour operators are instead launching their summer 2021 schedule much earlier than planned.
Jet2, easyJet and TUI are offering cheap package deals next year already – and we've rounded up some of the best to Greece, Spain and Turkey.
They are also all ATOL-protected, meaning you will get your money back if the trip doesn't go ahead due to coronavirus.
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