After caronavirus

By | Category: Travel news

Singapore Airlines is the latest company to point out that the caronavirus is reducing demand for airline seats. It has just removed 700 flights from its schedules.

tail fins of British Airways planes
BA has suspended flights to China as have a number of other airlines.

The Chinese government is reportedly looking at subsidising a host of home-based airlines so that they can survive until demand picks up again. Based in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific had already cut a number of flights and has asked its staff to take unpaid leave.

A number of European airlines including BA, Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa have suspended flights to China and must be looking to deploy their planes elsewhere.

But where?

If a plane is in the air it is making money. If it is sitting on the ground, it is losing money.

That is why I think the airline sales we saw in January won’t be the last ones we see.

Today inflation rose in the UK according to official figures, part of that rise was put down to air fare increases. Surely they will now soften as airlines struggle to fill seats.

That means that you and I may be able to pick up some bargains particularly out of peak times.

I would imagine there will be bargains on destinations served by the Chinese airlines that come to the UK once they decide to operate to the UK again. But I would also expect airlines in the Far East which have been hit so badly by a downturn in seat sales to also join in with either cheaper fares or extras thrown in to make their tickets look better value.

Airlines in the UK, Europe, Africa, and the Americas haven’t been hit anywhere near as badly so there may be no deals available there.

As holidaymakers are increasingly avoiding the Far East and looking to stay within Europe or to travel westwards, it could be that, in 2020, the growth we have seen in long-haul holidays remains flattish. But that is likely to be temporary and as soon as the caronavirus is forgotten, holidaymakers will look to China and the east again.

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