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No more easyJet services until April 7 as last flight departs for London

Johnny Bugeja

easyJet has now cancelled all services to Gibraltar until “at least” April 7, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said, as he laid bare the drop in air travellers as result of the Covid-19 crisis.

Speaking in No.6 Convent Place during the daily 4pm press conference, Dr Garcia said 377 passengers had arrived in Gibraltar International Airport over the past week, down 86% from the comparable week in 2019.

The data reflects similar trends across the globe as carriers cancel flights in response to lockdown measures and travel restrictions.

Dr Garcia said today’s easyJet service to and from the Rock would be the last for some time, with the airline now confirming that all its services to Gibraltar would be suspended until April 7 at the earliest.

For now, British Airways continues to fly one service from London daily except Wednesdays, although the airline said the situation was fast-changing and that passengers would be informed of any changes.

“The government is now in discussions with both British Airways and easyJet as to the way forward,” Dr Garcia said.

The last easyJet flight brought 20 passengers from London and took another 43 back to the UK.

Among those who arrived on the Rock this week were students and other Gibraltarians returning home.

But the government said it was aware of at least 23 Gibraltarians stranded in different parts of the world, including seven in London who were travelling back from further afield including Cuba, Colombia and Thailand.

There are seven Gibraltarians in Morocco too, and others in Australia, the US and Honduras.

The government has provided details of all the stranded persons to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

And in a separate development, NATS, the company that handles air traffic control in Gibraltar under contract to the Ministry of Defence, said it had taken steps to ensure the airfield remained operational over the coming weeks, both for civilian and military flights.

“The coronavirus is not currently affecting our day to day operations of air traffic control at Gibraltar,” a spokesman for NATS told the Chronicle.

“We have enacted plans to ensure we safeguard both the resilience of what is a vital service to Gibraltar and the wellbeing of our people.”