The Canary Islands are hoping to recover up to 85% of the tourism connectivity they had in the pre-Covid era, in 2019, throughout the course of this year. Announced on Thursday, at the FITUR International Tourism Fair by the Canary Islands Regional Minister for Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Yaiza Castilla, it was explained that the Archipelago had reestablished flight connections with 130 of the 153 cities for 2021 with which there were connection routes two years ago.
By islands, the highest recovery of direct connection destinations or airports through regular routes is with Tenerife North aerodrome, having actually grown in number from 26 to 28, which pans out as 8% more than in 2019; on Lanzarote, 82% of the air connectivity has been recovered; on Gran Canaria and for Tenerife South, in both cases, 81%; on Fuerteventura, 75%; and on La Palma, 65% of direct connections have already been committed to.
In addition, the Regional Minister highlighted the fact that in the midst of the pandemic there have been airlines which have launched new routes, like Binter ( to Turin, Venice, Marseille, Lile, Toulouse and Reus, all from Gran Canaria); Vueling (Tenerife North-Porto and Lanzarote- Palma de Mallorca), British Airways (London Heathrow-Lanzarote) and Air Baltic (Riga- Tenerife South and also soon with Gran Canaria).
“Another very positive aspect for our destination is the return of airlines such as Aeroflot and Icelander’s regular route from Reykjavik, as well as, for the first time to the Islands, such important companies as Air France,” Castilla explained.
In the case of the French company, they will begin to fly from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Gran Canaria; Air Baltic is also incorporated, with its Riga-Tenerife South route, to which Gran Canaria could soon also be added; and the creation of Latitud Hub, the Canarian airline promoted by a group of Tenerife entrepreneurs that already has scheduled operations to various destinations, mainly on mainland Spain.
Castilla held meetings with the president and CEO of Vueling, Marco Sansavini, with the CEO of Iberia Express, Carlos Gómez, as well as with the head of routes for Air Europa, Antonio Carmona, at which she was able to “verify the strong commitment of the companies to the Islands”. Iberia Express will restore practically all their capacity that operated before the pandemic this summer, with around 750,000 air seats travelling in both directions.
Better still are the data from Vueling, which for the summer season plans to increase their air capacity with the Canary Islands by 9%, according to their managers. The airline, which operates from Barcelona and many other national and international destinations to the Canary Islands, will go from offering 1,039,804 seats in the summer of 2019 to 1,133,508 in the summer of this year, nearly 100,000 extra.
Air Europa, which is waiting for the European Commission to authorise their purchase by the IAG group, have been more conservative when drawing up their programming for this year.
Regarding actual demand from tourists, airline representatives told Castilla that they are seeing growth in the search for trips to the Canary Islands on their online servers, although purchases are generally not being made until 15 days before the flight. “The public has a broad desire to travel, but still shows some caution and uncertainty due to the pandemic, which we hope that the vaccination process and the control of epidemiological indices will be able to dissipate,” Castilla clarified.
Mainland Spain and The Canary Islands, this year, could add moderate growth to their French tourism markets, who generally holiday in summertime and which, after the confinements and strong mobility restrictions, is showing great potential with clear intention to travel abroad and to reliable destinations like the Canary Islands, with which France will also enjoy good connectivity for this summer, with some 111,267 flight places available for the months of July, August and September, which is to say 27% more than summer 2019.