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It is well known by now the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the air travel industry. However, even though many airlines continue to get through the pandemic, several workers in the industry also think about how COVID-19 will affect air travel not only now but in the future.
To give airlines and passengers an idea of what to expect when the pandemic subsides, Dollar Flight Club has conducted two studies to suggest how COVID-19 will impact consumer travel demand and what it will do to the global airline industry throughout 2020 and beyond.
To determine how the pandemic will affect consumer travel demand short-term and long-term, Dollar Flight Club surveyed 20,000 of their one million most active members. Results found that while almost 80 percent of participants have canceled their trips scheduled for April and May, over 60 percent of respondents admitted that they will be comfortable traveling within the next six months if travel restrictions are lifted.
The data shows just how many people are still willing to travel in the near future. Virtuoso's managing director of global public relations, Misty Belles, reports that their clients fall into one of three groups: "About one-third are canceling outright, a third are postponing and a third are in 'wait-and-see' mode."
According to CNN, it is those in the latter two groups that will be traveling within nine months and rebooking their trips within the year.
The Dollar Flight Club has also estimated COVID-19's impact on airfare pricing, how airlines will adapt to the changes and what this means for future passengers.
The study used analyzed data from after 9/11 and the Great Recession to predict that travelers will see lower airfare prices in the short term before prices gradually increase in the long term.
Following the September 11 terror attacks, airfare prices dropped 18 percent for the remainder of 2001, only for prices to rise 25 percent by 2003. Similarly, airfare prices dropped 21 percent during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009 but saw a 24 percent increase in 2012.
Using the above pattern and the 2019 benchmark, Dollar Flight Club predicts a 35 percent decrease in airfare prices in 2021 and a 27 percent increase through 2025, assuming that travel resumes May 31, 2020.
With US airlines expecting a $113 billion loss due to the coronavirus, Dollar Flight Club expects that, within the next six years, at least two large carriers will merge to strengthen control in the market and that low-fare carriers like Spirit and Frontier will be "swallowed up" by these larger carriers.
Additionally, the study predicts that airlines will reduce the number of flights and routes to increase revenue.
Finally, the study determines what all these changes will mean for airline passengers, and it suggests that future travelers should expect to see reduced travel options, fewer flight delays and cancellations, more bag fees and miscellaneous charges and fuller and more expensive flights.
Mackenzie Cullen is an Associate Writer for TravelPulse. An English graduate from the University of Delaware, she joined the...
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