THE FLIP SIDE OF THE COIN

Bookings - and Fares - Soaring Now that Border Testing Dropped

Plane take off airplaneThe response from Canada’s airlines to Thursday’s announcement that Ottawa was dropping border testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers was universal:

“Excellent news for the entire travel and tourism industry,” pronounced David Rheault, Vice-President, Government and Community Relations at Air Canada. “The removal of pre-departure testing requirements will continue to accelerate and stimulate the recovery of Canada's travel and tourism industry.”

WestJet chief commercial officer John Weatherill, in an interview with GlobalNews, said the airline is getting ready for an “ “immediate and dramatic” surge in demand.

Canada Jetlines, scheduled to start operations this summer, says the announcement plays right into the company’s launch plans, with CEO Eddy Doyle declaring, “immense relief and excitement” following the announcement.

“This transition phase coincides with our upcoming launch and will be a key component in promoting travel back to Canada during peak season – then into the fall again with a forecasted record volumes of VFR and leisure traffic.”

Some reports say that, not only are bookings already surging - so are fares.

As Open Jaw reported, while Canada’s airlines previously said the increase in the cost of fuel as a result of the war in Ukraine would not automatically drive up ticket prices, we quoted Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick noting that fares can change frequently in both directions, due to a number of factors, “apart from fuel costs, including ... competition, demand, marketing considerations and the type of traffic that a route serves.”

And there may be a ‘perfect storm’ for spiking fares now.

“No question that demand will be a factor, fuel cost will be a factor, and labour shortages will be a factor,” said Flight Centre’s Allison Wallace in a report by CityNews. She added that 2022 is expected to be a boom year for travel.

The same report pointed out a whopping 50 per cent increase in air fares between Canada and the U.K. posted by an online travel retailer last week.

“A lot of supply and demand works very much in travel. There are currently less scheduled flights and less space available from pre-pandemic,” said Wallace.

“Hopefully we’ll see airlines start to add more flights as they get more staff and that might ease the pricing a little bit. But without question, it’s going to be a very busy time and that tends to drive the price up.”

Lynn Elmhirst

Editor

With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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