Will Fall be a Bust for Aviation?
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Summer was good news for the airline business. Vaccines had many travelers feeling confident about making a trip outside the house for the first time in a long time. Business travel also picked up with some offices reopening, and corporate meetings leaving Zoom for the conference room.
Unfortunately, fall may not follow the same pattern of resurgence. Will the upcoming autumn be a boom or bust for aviation?
Reasons for a Potential Slowdown
The Delta variant and rising COVID rates in certain parts of the United States is the primary reason that travel may slow down. Many companies are once again limiting their office hours or closing in-person offices altogether. As a result, businesses are cutting back on their travel plans.
Summer usually sees higher rates of leisure travelers, so the loss of revenue from business travel is especially painful for airlines.
Both types of travel are also affected by shifting government policies regarding travel. Some European countries, such as Norway, are not allowing Americans in at all. Also, with a spreading Delta variant, the status of “vaccinated” may also be redefined. For example, Israel no longer considers two shots of the vaccine as being vaccinated. The official vaccinated designation only counts if someone has received a booster – the third shot.
American travelers are already on edge, so many will throw up their hands and forego travel whenever they can. We’ve seen increased unruliness and violence from American passengers, and the FAA has already issued more than $1 million in fines this year.
What are Airlines Doing to Mitigate Damage?
If business travel is expected to slow down, then airlines will try to make up the difference with increased leisure travel. Airlines hope to entice more customers with lower rates, especially with cheaper pricing on routes that previously cost a premium.
The lower airfares should apply from September to November, and airlines will hope to make up revenues as travel begins to pick up again for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.