In the face of the crisis, airlines are playing the low price card

19:26, 08/05/2021 (GMT+7)

To recover from the crisis, which ground almost all planes to the ground, airlines have chosen to lower their prices in the hope of attracting travelers again.


Airlines, strangled by the Covid-19 crisis and the uncertainties weighing on its development, are playing the card of low prices to attract disoriented passengers, in a context of slower-than-expected traffic recovery.

With boxes emptied by weeks of confinement and border closures that have pinned their fleet to the ground, companies want to see passengers return to planes as quickly as possible, and are deploying a variety of health measures to reassure them and displaying prices. tempting to crack the reluctant.

Since June, planes have made a timid return to the European skies with stronger traffic in July driven by the summer holidays, which leveled off in August and tends to decline slightly in September (-54% over the first three weeks), according to Eurocontrol data, which says it is rather pessimistic for October compared to the recovery scenario envisaged in the spring (a drop of 57% against -30% expected in April).

According to a study by tourism analysis firm ForwardKeys published on Thursday, looking at ticket prices from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain to the four main destinations in Europe from the south – Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain – prices were 15% lower in August than in the same period last year. The lowest prices were found on routes between the United Kingdom and Greece, with -35% compared to 2019. Flights between Great Britain to Italy or Spain, from Germany to Greece or Portugal or France to Greece or the Netherlands to Spain have seen prices fall by 25% compared to last year, notes Forward Keys.

Low prices that “stimulate traffic”

Only flights from Germany to Italy, a market from which low-cost companies had massively withdrawn, reached high prices, according to the same source.

The low prices “stimulate traffic” and “at some point we cannot stand idly by, hope that everything will be fine and rely on the policies”, explained to AFP Eddie Wilson, CEO of Ryanair DAC at the time. that the company had just launched a “flash” sale of discounted tickets. On Thursday, the Irish low-cost launched a new promotional campaign.

“We must encourage our travelers to take the plane and the price is a factor,” confirmed in an interview with AFP Reginald Otten, deputy general manager of the British company easyJet. But beyond low prices, it is also for companies to focus on the most profitable routes, he adds. A complicated choice when the authorities of these flagship destinations put in place restrictions ranging from the closing of borders to the quarantine of arrivals through tests, which are difficult to obtain.

Limited offers

Companies are responding to the traffic collapse “with the tools they have at hand: downsizing and making promotional offers, but they have no control over the course of the pandemic and over restriction policies. traffic ”, estimates Olivier Ponti, vice-president of ForwardKeys. “The effect of the attractive price will therefore be limited, especially since consumers remain worried about the interruption of their projects and the rapid reimbursement of tickets in the event of cancellation,” he adds.

And in the longer term, “there will perhaps be a little less volumes for a while, perhaps fewer operators – because the crisis is extremely deep for the operators, for the industry – and therefore there is there will also probably be an increase in the price of plane tickets ”, noted a few days ago the French Minister for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari.

(With AFP)

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