Flying low: European airlines flex fares to woo passengers
According to recent research, Europe’s airlines have been offering significantly discounted fares for the September to December period in a bid to attract back travelers.
Analysis of air fares from the four major northern European markets, France, Germany, Netherland and UK for the four major southern European destinations Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain reveals that during August the majority of routes were priced at more than 15% below what they were at the same time last year.
The most attractive deals were from the UK to Greece, more than 35% below last year’s levels.
Other attractive deals, at around 25% discount, were from the UK to Spain and Italy, from Germany to Greece and Portugal, from France to Greece and from the Netherlands to Spain.
There was just one route, priced at a premium to 2019, Germany to Italy, where low cost carriers withdrew disproportionately from the market.
According to analysts, the industry is living through a very difficult market for airlines, with demand being less than a fifth of what it was at the same time last year. The airlines have been responding with the tools at their disposal, reducing capacity and offering promotional prices to attract back travelers, but they have no control over the evolution of the pandemic and travel restriction policies, which strongly influence bookings.
The effect of attractive prices will thus remain limited, especially given that many consumers are still concerned that their plans will be disrupted and that any money spent on air tickets may not be promptly refunded in the event their flight is cancelled. Building back consumer confidence is a prerequisite to attracting people back to flying.