Swiss regional carrier Helvetic Airways will begin to resume its flight operations on Sunday 5 July. The airline plans a gradual restoration of its operational activities that is closely tailored to demand and to further developments in the COVID-19 situation in Switzerland and worldwide.
“Europe may have reopened its internal borders, but the situation remains very uncertain,” says Helvetic Airways CEO Tobias Pogorevc. “Things are slowly starting to happen again, but it’s still very unclear just how much demand there is for air travel. We will need to be very flexible and very responsive if we are to provide stable and profitable flight operations. Against this background, we are assuming that we will be able to gradually increase capacities over the next few months thanks to a destination offering that is adapted to the current conditions. In July 20-30% of our capacity is used regularly and we will continuously increase it in late summer. Destinations can also be included in the program at short notice.”
A modified range of destinations
Helvetic Airways will resume its flight operations with a weekly scheduled service from Bern to Palma de Mallorca on Sunday 5 July. The airline will also be serving Pristina and Ohrid from its Zurich Airport base. Current travel restrictions are taken into account and the flight plans are adjusted accordingly.
Helvetic Airways aircraft will also be departing from Bern and Sion for Palma de Mallorca from 18 July onwards under the airline’s new flyBAIR collaboration. These services should be expanded to Crete and Rhodes in August, and to Jerez de la Frontera, Kos, Menorca and Preveza in September. The start of these services from Bern will also see the establishment at the airport of a temporary crew and maintenance hub. One Helvetic Airways Embraer E190-E1 aircraft will also be stationed in Bern until the end of the summer timetable period.
A COVID-19 protection concept
To ensure the health and well-being of its passengers and its crews, Helvetic Airways has developed a COVID-19 protection concept in accordance with the recommendations of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). Masks must be worn by all cabin personnel, and are also recommended for passengers. These and further procedures will also be modified wherever necessary to comply with the latest FOPH provisions.
Helvetic Airways has also modified its inflight service to minimize contacts and pay due and full regard to individual protection needs. There will be no inflight magazines and no on-board duty-free sales until further notice. Every passenger will be provided at their seat with an illustrated information sheet summarizing the latest recommendations. All the necessary information here is also available online at www.helvetic.com/covid-19.
Helvetic’s fourth and fifth new Embraer E190-E2s joined the fleet in the last few days: HB-AZD on 25 June and HB-AZE on 2 July. The deliveries of the seven remaining E190-E2s on order have been deferred: these aircraft will now be gradually delivered from 2021 onwards. Helvetic Airways ordered twelve Embraer E190-E2s for a total of almost USD 750 million in July 2018. In the longer term, these aircraft will give the airline one of Europe’s most advanced and most ecofriendly aircraft fleets.