Estimated 6,000 British citizens in Mexico affected by flight cancellations

Around 6,000 British tourists would be stranded as a consequence of the three weekly flights that British Airways has suspended, assured Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President and Acting CEO of The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Estimated 6,000 British citizens in Mexico affected by flight cancellations
British Airways airliner. Image by Steve Richardson from Pixabay

According to Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President and Acting CEO of The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), approximately 6,000 British tourists will be stranded as a result of the three weekly flights suspended by British Airways.

"We very much regret this situation, unfortunately, it is unclear when this will change again, the UK notes the increase in Covid cases, and that vaccination is not as level. The impact will be for all international and Mexican travelers who want to go to the UK. Hopefully, this will not set any precedent for another country to take measures against Mexico, but it will have an impact".

In a videoconference she detailed that approximately 6 thousand Britons are in Mexico at the moment and with the new measures, they are trying to return immediately to the United Kingdom, since the mandatory quarantines come into effect on Sunday morning.

"It is estimated that there are at least 6 thousand British in Mexico at the moment, they are all trying to return on an emergency basis, the measure comes in on Sunday night and the airlines are trying to increase their capacity, but this could take months and will certainly have an economic impact for the country and the tourism industry, which at the moment had benefits."

Messina specified that the expenses of carrying out the quarantine in the United Kingdom are borne by the travelers, and it has an average cost of over 50 thousand pesos. "Travel is practically closed. Mexico had benefits, it had remained open, the United Kingdom was the third country from which more visitors arrived". It is estimated that 300 of them would be in Cancun alone. This weekend, at Cancun International Airport (AIC), those affected tried to get flights to European countries in order to connect with their final destination in the United Kingdom.

The airline informed that it would take effect as of August 15, however, as of Saturday British Airways no longer has a route to Cancun, and customers who had a return ticket will have to wait to return to the United Kingdom. The director of the Tourism Promotion Council of Quintana Roo, Daría Flota, considered that this will be an affectation for Cancun since an important recovery was expected with the arrival of around 1,500 Britons weekly to Cancun's International Airport.

As for British Airways, which suspended its three weekly flights to Cancun, it will only send a flight approximately every 10 days to take its passengers with return tickets. British Airways canceled 9,640 seats to Cancun from the United Kingdom from August 15 to September 30. The suspension of flights from the United Kingdom to Cancun announced by British Airways from August 15 to September 30, could represent a loss of 15.1 million dollars for Mexico.

The routes that will stop operations during this period are those departing from Gatwick and Heathrow airports to this Quintana Roo destination. In 2020, the Gatwick-Cancun route, operated by this airline, showed a flow of 73 flights with a volume of 19,300 passengers, representing 9.7 percent of total arrivals to the destination. Between January and June of this year, this route accumulated a total of 38 British flights, with 7,629 passengers, equivalent to 6.2 percent of the total number of international tourists to Cancun.

With data from the arrival of passengers to Cancun transported by the main European airlines, British Airways ranked third during 2020, while in the first semester of 2021 it occupied eighth place. Last year, Air France was the leader among European airlines with 39,673 passengers, followed by Tui Airways, with 29,330; British Airways, with 19,300; Lufthansa, with 17,361; and Air Europa, with 13,329 travelers transported.

From January to June 2021, the list is composed as follows: Lufthansa, 26 thousand 793 passengers to Cancun; Air France, 21 thousand 545; Turkish Airlines, 12 thousand 141; Polki Line, 11 thousand 447; Edelweiss, 11 thousand 348; Evelop Airlines, 11 thousand 265; Tap Air Portugal, 8 thousand 731; and British Airways, with 7 thousand 629 transported.