Airlines are betting on a bookings boost around Easter to stave of current financial difficulties.
Industry experts say that while current traffic levels are very low, the first few months of the year are traditionally not important in terms of traffic.
Speaking at a recent CAPA Live event, Stephen Furlong, senior equity analyst of Davy Research, says: “All airlines are really in hibernation. The focus is on bringing cashflow in for the summer season. It’s very crucial for the aviation industry that there is a summer 21 season because without that we’re going to have more dislocation and failures to be blunt.”
The consensus from market intelligence firms is that the ongoing uncertainty around local restrictions is impacting traveler confidence.
Daniel Roeska, managing director and senior analyst, Bernstein Research, who was also speaking at the CAPA Live event, says: “It’s definitely unprecedented in the order of magnitude. With 9/11 we were counting planes, trying to find where they were and talking about minus 10% at Lufthansa in those times. But, if you put all this on a long-term time series, by now you can’t even see the movement of past recessions anymore, we’ve lost so much traffic.
“The current environment in Europe with lockdowns, continued uncertainty about vaccine distribution and how fast we will return to some thing that resembles a normal travel pattern, will keep people from booking at this point.”
Sojern, however, in its latest Europe update says it doesn’t believe search and booking volumes will drop to the levels of April 2020.
The company says it is seeing increasing interest in January with flight searches for departures dates from April.
Tripadvisor research reflects a similar trend with the reviews giant revealing that in the first week of January 85% of hotel clickers from both Germany and the UK are planning international breaks for later in 2021.
It adds that domestic travel will also continue to do well with 70% of hotel clickers on Tripadvisor booking future domestic holidays.