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Qatar Avios update
Yesterday I wrote about the news that Qatar Airways will start using Avios as their Privilege Club currency instead of QMiles. At the time it was not clear if there would be the same ability to transfer miles between schemes using “Combine my Avios” as with other Avios airlines. It has now been confirmed that the Avios will be completely transferable between BA Executive Club accounts and Qatar Privilege Club. This makes this a very valuable addition to the Avios portfolio as you will be able to use Avios to upgrade on Qatar when the change happens. (see this article for more details)
Heathrow T4 to open summer 2022
Today Heathrow Airport released their latest results which make grim reading. In 2021 passenger numbers fell to 19.4m, the lowest since 1972. Heathrow was the only European hub to see a reduction in traffic last year, due to tighter travel restrictions than EU countries.
However, the outlook seems more optimistic providing that the CAA allows them to invest the necessary money to avoid “Heathrow Hassle”. This in effect means being allowed to charge the airlines the maximum price they are proposing, which is not great news for passengers who will get passed on the increase.
Heathrow also announced that it planned to reopen Terminal 4 by July and they were hoping to meet their 2022 target of 45.5 million passengers.
In a statement Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
“While 2021 was the worst year in Heathrow’s history, I am very proud of the way that colleagues focussed on passengers, and we were able to maintain our position as one of the top 10 airports in the world for service.
“Demand is now starting to recover and we are working closely with airlines to scale-up our operations and reopen Terminal 4 for the summer travel peak. We’re excited to welcome more passengers back to Heathrow to experience the joys of travel and get Britain’s economy firing on all cylinders again.”
Previously terminal 4 had been the home of Qatar (and Etihad) which had a great lounge there. All that changes when it closed in 2020 and then reopened as a red list terminal. It is expected that Air France and KLM may not return to T4.
The irony of T4 is that it has a plethora of on-airport hotels attached to it that you can walk to. Yet no one can get to T4 as it’s shut and there is no public transport apart from a bus. Hilton and Crowne Plaza are both good choices at T4.
Cyprus eases entry restrictions
Cyprus had previously announced in January that all visitors would gave to undergo testing before arrival due to Omicron. This week the decision has been reversed for Brits that are fully vaccinated from this week. However, fully vaccinated visitors must still take a PCR test on arrival, at a cost of €15-€19pp, until the end of February. The arrival PCR will no longer be required from 1 March.
But it’s not quite as good news for some as Cyprus takes fully vaccinated to means those who have had two jabs (unless it’s a single dose one) plus a booster.
EU recommends dropping tests
The EU Commission has made new recommendations for member countries to drop testing and quarantine from 1 March. This applies to pre-departure COVID-19 testing for travellers who are fully vaccinated. To be fully vaccinated under EU guidelines you must have completed the course of initial vaccinations with the last dose at least 14 days and no more than 270 days before arrival. If it is longer than 270 days you will need a booster.