2020 may be behind us but, as we all know, the lingering effects of COVID-19 are still making life difficult for the travel industry at the start of the new year.
Two airlines have this week announced cutbacks as a result of the pandemic. Norwegian has abandoned its long-haul service to focus its attention on a “dedicated short-haul route network”. Meanwhile, Air Canada revealed it will cut capacity by 25% in the first quarter of the year, leading to a loss of around 1,700 jobs.
This comes as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported a stall in the recovery of global air travel due to new border restrictions. IATA figures showed year-on-year total passenger demand fell by over 70% in November, with international passenger demand down 88% over the same period.
However, there was some sunshine amidst the gloom for UK holiday travel firms, who are reporting a boom in bookings from over-50s for Easter and beyond. Tui said more than half of its bookings to Spain and Greece this week were from older holidaymakers, which is being attributed to renewed travel optimism led by the nationwide rollout of coronavirus vaccines.
And finally, a former airport runway in Shanghai is continuing to bring joy to travellers after being converted into a stunning urban park. The 6,000ft-long Xuhui Runway Park has been developed over the site of Longhua Airport, which closed in 2011. Opened last year, the new park features 82 plant species, a playground, a bird-watching grove and a sunken garden, along with resting spaces created using concrete from the old runway.