Bargain airfares, paired with successful vaccine rollouts, could be the lifeline that revives the market by luring back reluctant customers, Bloomberg News reports.
Airlines around the world have started dangling ultra-cheap fares as they aim to claw back sales and get a jump on competitors that have shrunk operations. Some Canadian carriers appear to be joining the party.
Edmonton-based Flair Airlines is one of the carriers betting on cheap fares to fuel a travel rebound in Canada this summer, introducing fares starting at just $39. It expects pent-up demand for VFR travel to lead the recovery. The ULCC is almost doubling its network and bulking up its fleet by leasing 13 new Boeing 737 MAX jets from one of its investors, 777 Partners.
This follows initiatives seen in other countries:
Malaysia-based LCC AirAsia is boosting its revenue recovery by selling 599-ringgit (CAD$184) travel passes that allow unlimited flights in Malaysia and the Asean region for a year.
And Australia’s Qantas last month launched a one-million-seat sale on domestic flights priced as low as AUD$99.
Australia’s government is throwing more fuel on the low-fare fire by offering 800,000 domestic airfares slashed to half price as part of a billion-dollar bid to get Aussies back in the air. The fares will be available for purchase online from 01APR and will include carriers Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he expected fares to be snapped up quickly and called the scheme a “ticket to recovery,” according to news.com.au.
“(We want) to get Australians travelling and supporting tourism operators, businesses, travel agents and airlines who continue to do it tough through COVID-19, while our international borders remain closed,” Morrison said.
“This package will take more tourists to our hotels and cafes, taking tours and exploring our backyard. That means more jobs and investment for the tourism and aviation sectors as Australia heads towards winning our fight against COVID-19 and the restrictions that have hurt so many businesses.”
It’s a strategy which has been endorsed by IATA. In DEC, the association outlined its recommendations to governments to stimulate demand. Among them was to purchase advance tickets that governments can use for future trips or distribute to the travelling public in the form of vouchers to support travel and tourism. Another recommended measure was to provide passenger travel subsidies in the form of vouchers or as a percentage cash-back on overall travel costs.