PM says she ‘profoundly grateful’ for the expertise of Tui aviation staff and travel chiefs as third wave of coronavirus hit UK — 6 months after first case

Tui airline said it could face a new surge in cabin fever with the second wave of the new H1N1 strain “quite likely” to hit UK flights over the next six months.

Britons returning home from international holidays face headaches as new strain surges in UK Read more

Prime minister Theresa May met travel chiefs and insurance companies to discuss how to prevent a new wave of illness starting to strike. The next strain is more likely to hit once Tui has more weeks to prepare and excess capacity begins to be absorbed.

A Tui spokesman said: “UK customers leaving for new holidays should get comfortable with this.

“The good news is that the Tui team has continued to make progress with the avian flu investigation and is now focussing on the initial testing in Germany and the US where the H1N1 vaccine is quickly being introduced into the market.

“The danger of this virus tends to be only around half of its original length and there is no evidence of any new virus developing and there is no compelling reason to predict if the second wave might occur or not.

“We are now taking appropriate action, under the commitment we received in the Downing Street statement, to provide more measures as and when they become available.”

A spokesman for the National Health Service said the UK was in better shape than other countries. “There is no evidence that we are significantly better prepared. The UK is in better shape than other countries, we know how to manage the threat and the NHS is in better shape than other countries.”

As the new coronavirus continues to spread, Europe’s aviation industry faces uncertainty. It has taken more than a year for the coronavirus to be identified and confirmed as the first case of the potentially deadly strain.

Boeing, which makes the plane, was left reeling when, days after the sighting of the infection, it received a negative confirmation from the World Health Organisation’s expert panel that the virus had not spread, meaning there was no explanation why it was contagious.

The company, which employs tens of thousands of cabin crew, flight engineers and mechanics, said the experience “gave us some answers about whether this new virus represents a specific or unique risk for the aircraft we fly”.

Tim Clark, chief executive of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said he understood the pressures on airline staff. “The news has hit our cabin crew especially hard,” he said. “Our members are acutely aware of the increased level of care, staffing and vigilance we need to maintain against such a serious and unpredictable event.

“The cabin crew’s work is our lifeblood – as air crew we have every confidence in the ability of our colleagues to face the challenges posed by this virus. I am hopeful that the UK aviation industry can get through this difficult period.

“All airlines continue to benefit from understanding the risk, and we are confident that when our colleagues report back, the aviation industry and public will be able to understand and respond to our colleagues’ concerns in a transparent and relevant way.”