The air travel market has shifted toward last-minute bookings, one-way flights and more domestic trips as consumers grapple with fast-moving changes due to the coronavirus pandemic, a report from online search and booking site Skyscanner shows.
The new trend will be an advantage for low-cost carriers that are able to offer competitive pricing amid an uncertain future for business travel, which was previously a major profit driver for full-service airlines, the report said.
For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.
“I think generally we have seen if you look at the market prices are much keener than you would expect,” Skyscanner Vice President Commercial and Flights Hugh Aitken told Reuters in a phone interview. “That just reflects that airlines have capacity and need to fill that capacity.”
Visits to the Skyscanner website, owned by Trip.com Group Ltd, are down by 60 percent to 70 percent due to the pandemic’s impact on travel demand, Aitken said.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app
Searches to travel within a week have been trending upward since June, around the time that lockdowns ended in many countries, according to Skyscanner’s data. Globally, these searches are up about 20 prcent from a year earlier.
“When you see restrictions being lifted there is a frenzy,” Aitken said, using the example of when Britain stopped requiring quarantines on return for many countries.
“But equally when we see the potential that a restriction will be added there is a big lift because that is just people ... scrambling on how to get home again,” he said.
Read more: Coronavirus: Dubai resumes flights of foreign airlines as it welcomes back tourists
Domestic travel searches are higher globally, mainly in Asia, though there has been a slight improvement in international searches in recent months, according to the Skyscanner report on Tuesday.
Searches for longer-dated trips are becoming more popular as travelers bet on future border openings, including examples such as from the United Kingdom to Orlando and New York for next year, Skyscanner said.
The International Air Transport Association said passenger travel demand was down 79.8 percent in July from a year earlier and forecasts it will take until 2024 for travel to return to pre-crisis levels.
Skyscanner says it will take several years before business travel returns to previous levels, forcing some airlines to rethink their strategies and reconfigure their plane cabins.
Air Arabia gets green light for Abu Dhabi-Tashkent flights from Uzbek authoritiesThe government of Uzbekistan has granted United Arab Emirates carrier Air Arabia permission to perform flights between Abu Dhabi and Tashkent,Uzbek ... Economy
Emirates airline launches Kosher Arabia to produce meals for Jewish customersThe Emirates airline group announced Thursday it will set up a production facility for kosher meals in the UAE to serve to Jewish customers, two days ... Travel and Tourism
Coronavirus: Saudia Airlines sets COVID-19 guidelines for travel to Saudi ArabiaSaudia Airlines has set coronavirus guidelines and requirements for travelers arriving in Saudi Arabia amid the COVID-19 outbreak, despite the ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Emirates and Etihad airlines ask crew to take more unpaid leaveGulf carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways have again asked cabin crew to take voluntary unpaid leave as they try to manage the impact from the ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Emirates airlines offers free COVID-19 medical, quarantine coverageEmirates airlines will offer free coronavirus medical and quarantine coverage for its travelers in the United Arab Emirates and around the world, the ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Airlines ask EU, White House to adopt testing program for passengersMajor US and European Union airlines asked the EU and White House on Tuesday to consider a joint US-EU program to test airline passengers for COVID-19 ... Coronavirus
Coronavirus: Dubai resumes flights of foreign airlines as it welcomes back touristsDubai Airports resumed scheduled operations of 13 international airlines at Dubai International Airport (DXB), after it started welcoming back ... Coronavirus