While the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the travel industry continues to suffer. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), since the onset of the pandemic, there have been 1 billion fewer international tourist arrivals. There are also approximately 100 million tourism jobs at risk.
The future of the airline industry, as part of this travel sector, is unclear. But as travel restrictions lift and the vaccine rolls out, what is the airline industry outlook? Will domestic and international travel increase?
Will travelers want to fly again? Read on to learn the key themes and challenges impacting the airline industry.
Before COVID-19, many airlines charged travelers change fees to cancel or rebook their flights. These change fees were costly. The fees could be up to $250.00 per person per ticket.
Because of COVID-19 travel impacts, many major airlines waved these change fees. This entices travelers to book flights without the worry of losing money if they have to cancel. By removing change fees, airlines are able to free up customer service teams. These personnel would have to manage changes and reissue tickets and payments.
A Change in Profits
This change is positive for the consumer. But, airlines historically depended on change fees to support their operations and profits.
Without change fees, airlines may suffer. They will have to create an alternative way to increase profits and airline costs.
Whether you use Google flights or search for trips directly on any airline’s website, you may have noticed lower than usual prices. One of the major current airline industry trends is attractive fare offers. These inexpensive prices are another incentive to encourage consumers to buy tickets and travel again.
Expensive travel destinations like Bali, Tokyo, or Rome are on sale. For the avid traveler or person who has always dreamed of a particular getaway, now is the moment to take advantage of attractive offers.
Lower budget airlines who once relied on attractive fares will have to step up their customer service and amenity offerings. They will have to think about more than price to compete with established companies.
Travelers Are Traveling Again
According to a report in NPR, COVID-19 is not slowing down travelers. The Transportation Security Administration recently recorded more than 1.5 million passengers through security checkpoints.
While passenger numbers were higher before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers show that travel is on the rise again. The CDC outlined a “traveler’s health” guide. Airlines are following suit.
Many major airlines require masks onboard and some destinations require passengers to present negative PCR tests. While each airline and destination is different, the change in protocol has affected the entire industry.
The Future Airline Industry Outlook Is Promising
Airlines have adapted to new ways of business operations. For example, discontinuing historic changes fees. They have also offered lower fares to stay competitive.
These changes may be hurting the airline’s bottom line. But, they allow allowing the airlines to continue business operations and entice customers to travel.
As the vaccine continues to roll out, and travelers feel more confident and comfortable in the skies, the airline industry outlook looks promising. If you found this information helpful, check out our other travel stories.