Travel Industry News 9 January 2023

Luton DART system “expected to be operational by Easter”

The long-awaited Luton Direct Air-Rail Transit (DART) system is now expected to open by mid-April.  The direct air-rail transit link between Luton Airport Parkway railway station and the airport had originally been due to open in 2020, but delays have led the project’s unveiling to be postponed several times, and its cost to rise from £200 million to over £280 million.  When it does open the driverless 1.4 mile line will run 24 hours a day, connecting the station with the airport terminal in under four minutes.

Currently travellers have to take a shuttle bus service between the station and the airport, and Luton Rising – the council-owned body that runs London Luton airport – said that the DART “will help provide a seamless journey from central London to the airport in just half an hour by the fastest trains”.

Hong Kong drops requirement for arrivals PCR tests

Hong Kong has further relaxed its Covid-19 restrictions, following a similar move by mainland China.  Travellers no longer have to take a PCR test on arrival into Hong Kong.  In addition the so-called vaccine pass scheme – which limited access to public venues including restaurants, gyms and cinemas for the unvaccinated – is also being scrapped, although the wearing of masks in public spaces will remain compulsory.

Unvaccinated non-residents over the age of 12 years will still be denied entry to the Chinese special administrative region, and all travellers must take a PCR or rapid antigen test within 24 hours before departure for Hong Kong.


IATA criticises restrictions on travellers from China

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has slammed the introduction of restrictions on travellers from China, given the existing circulation of the virus within countries’ borders. EU countries including France, Italy and Spain have announced plans for either pre-departure or on arrival testing for travellers from China due to the soaring cases of Covid-19 in the country, and travellers on direct flights from China to the UK will be required to take pre-departure tests from 5 January 2023.

Travel news as a glance:

  • Cathay Pacific to more than double flights to China
  • First retrofitted Emirates A380 enters service
  • Delta to introduce free inflight wi-fi for all customers by end of 2024
  • JetBlue to launch daytime New York JFK-London Heathrow service from 25 March 2023
  • British Airways adds services to its London Gatwick short haul network
  • Aeromexico passengers gain access to Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow Clubhouse
  • Loganair axes Teesside routes to Belfast City and Dublin