The additional regulations and complexity surrounding air
travel in a Covid world and accelerated consolidation will mean airfares are certain to
Thomas Reynaert, managing director of Airlines for Europe
(A4E), made the prediction at Tuesday’s GBTA Town Hall, saying, “Flying is not going to get cheaper
with additional regulations and it will not be easier, including for business travellers.”
Reynaert also said the pandemic is accelerating industry consolidation. “We have seen consolidation already happening in the last
couple of years. What this crisis will do is trigger it faster than expected.
Airlines are in a really tight cash situation and there are issues over
liquidity. As long as travel restrictions do not improve and we don’t get a
vaccine for everyone – and not just the minority – then I think consolidation
will clearly happen,” he said.
He also said that the crisis would affect air connectivity. “We may see an impact on infrastructure. Are the large airports
that have been dominant in the past going
to continue to be dominant?” he asked.
Reynaert said that airlines would reconsider connections to these
secondary destinations and airports in smaller cities may struggle. “What will airlines’ capacity be to fly to remote destinations?” he asked. “That will be quite a challenge.”
At the weekend, the Mail on Sunday reported that BA was planning to shift services away from London Gatwick.
A4E was set up in 2016 and represents airlines handling 70
per cent of traffic in Europe, including Air France-KLM, easyJet, IAG, Lufthansa