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Flight cancellations ‘a global issue’ against Covid-19 backdrop, Govt says

UP IN THE AIR: The last easyJet service to take off from Gibraltar in March before the airline grounded all flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Services will resume on July 20. Photo by Johnny Bugeja

The reduction of air services is happening worldwide, the Gibraltar Government said yesterday, as it reacted to concerns raised by the GSD following confirmation that both British Airways and easyJet would cut flights to Gibraltar over the autumn and winter.

The GSD had called on the Government to act quickly to rectify the problems that may arise as a result.

But the Government said the GSD’s focus was both “unfair and misleading.”

The Government said the party’s criticism did not present an accurate picture of the current situation in respect of air services to the Rock.

It added that the Opposition had ignored “the small matter of a global pandemic that has shaken the airline industry across the planet to its foundations.”

“The Government itself does not like it when flights to Gibraltar are cancelled,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement.

“However, this is happening against the background of tens of thousands of redundancies on the part of the airlines that serve Gibraltar and hundreds of aircraft grounded everywhere.”

“It should be obvious to anyone who knows what they are talking about that less staff and less aircraft will mean less flights.”

“Moreover, the Government said the fact that the airlines serving the Rock are reducing their schedules this winter is not in itself unusual.”

“This happens every year. It again would be evident to anyone who knows anything about the airline industry.”

“It is also logical in the current climate that any reduction of air services would be exacerbated by weaker demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The cancelling and consolidation of flights in the coming months is no different to what the airlines have been doing with their flights to Gibraltar and indeed to airports worldwide during these difficult times, the Government said.

Vijay Daryanani, the Minister for Tourism, added: “The point is that this is a global issue and not a Gibraltar issue.”

“The Government has already demonstrated that it is prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure the continued air connectivity of Gibraltar with the United Kingdom.”

“It is clear that [the GSD’s Damon] Bossino has once again not presented the facts properly in a feeble attempt to be critical.”