The blow caused to the airline industry by the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially felt by budget airlines, which mostly operate narrow-bodied passenger jets and have therefore been unable to develop a sideline in air freight during the pandemic. According to one academic’s analysis, when the outbreak stabilizes, businesses are targeting a trend in so-called “revenge travel.” However, she also hopes that, rather than the pre-pandemic price wars between budget airlines, the consolidation that has taken place during the pandemic will restore healthy competition in the industry.
According to associate professor Melody Dai of National Cheng Kung University’s Department of Transportation and Communication Management Science, costs per flight have not changed during the pandemic, but if carriers are required to implement social-distancing seating plans, leaving empty seats between passengers, this would eat into airlines’ proft margins, causing a fresh headache for the industry. Dai says she hopes that budget airlines will manage to survive, since they help stimulate Taiwan’s domestic tourism sector as well as the wider economy.
Dai says that choosing to operate flights during the pandemic is a test of airlines’ ability to sustain losses, but the crisis may also prove to be a turnaround for the industry. Dai says there are many variables to the pandemic. She says that once the outbreak stabilizes, if the demand for “revenge travel” exceeds supply, this could resolve the pre-pandemic situation of supply exceeding demand, which led to price wars among budget airlines. The consolidation that the pandemic has triggered within the airline industry could bring about a return to healthy competition, says Dai.
Photo: screen grab from the Zipair Web site 照片取自 ZIPAIR 官網
One industry insider stated that, despite the lockdowns and reduced number of travelers and flights during the pandemic, the industry is bullish about post-pandemic prospects for both freight and passenger travel in the flourishing Asian region. The insider added that a trend in “revenge travel” could cause shorthaul routes to become particulary busy.
(Liberty Times, translated by Edward Jones)
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