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British Airways' flights between Charleston and London still on schedule amid travel ban

Charleston airport expects March passenger numbers to be down

British Airways counter

British Airways is still on schedule to resume seasonal flights between Charleston and London on March 29. The travel ban on Europe because of the threat from coronavirus will not affect the United Kingdom. File/Warren L. Wise/Staff

The threat from the new coronavirus will not affect British Airways’ plans to resume its seasonal, twice-weekly flights between London and Charleston on March 29, a spokesman said Thursday.

“No changes have been made,” said Chip Garner with British Airways’ office in New York.

That doesn’t mean a decision could be made later that will affect the international flights coming to Charleston from the United Kingdom.

“Everything is fast-moving right now,” Garner said.

The airline’s corporate office has not commented on the 30-day travel ban on Europe imposed by President Trump, he said. The ban takes effect at midnight Friday.

British Airways flights will operate on Sundays and Thursdays, and the flights through April are sold out or near capacity, according to Charleston International Airport CEO Paul Campbell.

Campbell said the airport will probably see a dip in March’s passenger levels because of the pandemic from COVID-19.

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“We expect to have some impact, but not much of an impact,” Campbell said. “We may lose a flight or two, but we will not lose a city. That could change. All we can do is kind of wait and see.”

The airport usually sees between 10,000 and 12,000 people a day coming and going. Campbell estimates the number could be off by a few hundred a day, but he won’t know for sure until flight numbers for March are reported in April.

“We don’t expect February’s passenger numbers to be affected that much,” he said. Those numbers usually are reported by mid- to late month.

To counter the drop-off in air travelers, Denver-based Frontier Airlines announced Thursday it will offer a 90 percent markdown on base fares to nearly all of its 100-plus destinations for a limited time. Taxes and other fees will still apply.

Flights must be booked by 11:59 p.m. March 16 for nonstop round-trip travel Monday through Thursday and Saturday by April 22 to and from the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Blackout dates are April 2, 4 and 11. A three-day advance purchase is required.

Frontier offers seasonal routes from Charleston to four destinations: Cleveland, Denver, Philadelphia and Trenton, N.J. The offer will only affect flights to Philadelphia from Charleston because routes to the other cities do not resume this spring until after April 22.

Frontier's flights between Charleston and Philadelphia start April 2, but because of the blackout date, the offer will be good for flights on April 5. The route is non-daily and operates on certain days of the week in April before switching to other days in May, according to Frontier's website.

Frontier's promo code for the deal is SAVE90.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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