Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 1 March 2021.
The news media is not known for the quality of its reporting on statistics.
This was perfectly illustrated last week when many outlets breathlessly reported “600%” increases of flight and holiday bookings after Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined plans to lift England out of lockdown. 600% of next to nothing is not a lot.
Qantas, which has been able to operate a domestic network of varying forms throughout COVID-19, illustrated last week how much network and schedule planning for airlines has changed.
The traditional winter and summer seasons are out of the window. As is the 353 day selling window for flights. Demand, which airlines have spent decades honing algorithms to forecast, will remain volatile. Announcements on border changes can result in immediate spikes in demand or mass cancellations.
Airlines will have to “war game” possible route and network planing decisions and implement capacity changes within a matter of hours of border restrictions changing.
Whilst BA was keen to talk up the prospects of demand returning when restrictions are lifted with the scope for capacity to reach up to 70% of 2019 this summer, its parent company did not give much away in its annual results last week.
Apart from confirming that 5 short haul and 10 long haul aircraft will be delivered to the group this year, that was pretty much it in terms of firm plans. Lufthansa will follow Air France KLM and IAG in announcing its annual results this Thursday.
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