Peeking over the wall to the end of the year tells you all you need to know about the challenges airlines, tour operators, hoteliers and the whole travel industry will face this coming winter as the pandemic refuses to go away. Since the first week of August, airlines around the world have cut back their planned capacity by some 100 million seats, assume in normal times 80% of those would have been filled at average yield of US$200 – that’s US$16 billions of revenues airlines had “hoped” to see that isn’t going to happen. These numbers are before the EU recommendation to limit US traveller access partly because of the Delta variant raging in the US but perhaps more out of frustration at the lack of reciprocity from the US authorities. Chances are the transatlantic market will now be closed until late November when the Thanksgiving season may offer a glimmer of hope.
Even the most optimistic analyst or airline CEO will now accept that the indicators for a further recovery by the end of the year have been blown away; the situation is grim with many international markets heading in the wrong direction for at least the next few months. For airlines that have recalled staff, furloughed them again, redesigned their networks and added aircraft back to their operations the cost are a heavy burden to take forward into the winter.
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