Will the coronavirus crisis kill cheap flights?

An original KÖZGAZDÁSZ ONLINE post.


President of Corvinus Tourism Club talks to Head of communication of Wizz Air.

What is going to happen to tourism and flying? Will there be a significant rise in fares, and is it safe to fly under the current circumstances at all? The President of Corvinus Tourism Club Simon Nagy talked to Head of Communication of Wizz Air András Radó online. The talk is reviewed by Zsófia Herendi.


The coronavirus wreaked havoc on tourism, with Wizz Air cancelling 97% of its flights, for example. Although the emergency situation has eased lately, complete recovery is yet to come, and tourism has not altogether resumed. The strategy of low-cost airlines, based on cheap fares, may be strained by the recession, and a potential rise in prices may repel passengers. (photo: Markus Winkler, pexels.com)


What will the relaunch look like? Are cheap flights over?


“Our goal is to fill up the seats, so we will apply our pricing strategies accordingly.” says András Radó in his reply to the question about future discount prices. “We are lucky because we started out with low prices in the first place: our fares are cheap, and we will keep it like that.”


According to the Head of Communication of Wizz Air, other airline companies will also have to come up with discounted offers in order to regain customers.


He thinks that airline companies financed by government loans may get in trouble because loans will have to be paid back to the governments. “The cost per kilometre is much higher in the case of many other airline companies – Lufthansa, for example, produces the same passenger kilometre 3 or 4 times more expensive than Wizz Air, so they will not have much chance to offer the same prices as Wizz Air. They simply have higher costs.”


Will routes be scarcer?


Besides changes in prices, what may also happen is that some more distant destinations will be less popular, which might mean that fewer routes can be resumed. “We are resuming our routes gradually, so as restrictions are easing, we will start flying to more and more destinations.” Wizz Air predominantly counts on passengers who must travel, as there are very few people going on holidays now, and even business-related flights have dropped. “At the moment we can see the passengers who would like to return home, maybe visit family, or travel on health or work-related purposes.”


Mr. Radó said about the fleet of Wizz Air: “Unlike other airline companies, we are going forward. We have announced three more bases, and we started to fly to Salzburg from six new cities.” Meanwhile other companies are trying to cancel their aircraft orders, Wizz Air keeps expanding, and often buys these fleet too.


“We keep focusing on expansion. This is the perfect time for us to fly to destinations and found bases at places that were not covered before.”


What about safety? Should I be afraid of the virus when boarding a plane?


It is understandable that people are afraid to get infected somewhere, especially in the case of the closed space of an aircraft. Mr. Radó thinks it's not a problem because “the air circulation system of an aircraft is designed to take in air from above and the sides, and to release it at the bottom. There are very effective filters to clean 99.7% of the particles of the air, eliminating dust, viruses, or anything that is in the air.


The air of an aircraft is actually as safe and clean as that of an ICU of a hospital.”


The effectiveness of the system is shown by the fact that until today no infection has been proven to have happened on board of a plane, says Mr. Radó. Besides that, Wizz Air has also introduced some precautions: since May 1st crew has been wearing masks and gloves, passengers have to wear masks throughout the flight, and they are given disinfectant towels after boarding. The aircraft are sterilized every day.

(Photo: kavekostolo, pexels.com)


How did the organizers see the event?

Zsófia Herendi, Corvinus Tourism Club


“The Facebook live stream reached almost 110.000 people, and the video has been watched by 3000 people so far. During the live event the audience had a chance to ask questions. Mr. Radó also touched upon areas like future expansion plans, picking new destinations, layoffs at Wizz Air due to the pandemic, or, if they expected a second wave of Covid-19.


They mentioned the issue of the Debrecen base, the improvements of their customer service, how governments spread information about regulation, and Mr. Radó even told us about the current capacity levels of Wizz Air flights, that is, on average, how many passengers a flight carries these days.


He gave us advice on holiday travels in the summer, told us about WizzAir’s point of view about future flights to the US, talked to us about what kind of effects can cancelled festivals have on airline companies, and also about their decision of not allowing passengers re-book free of charge in these uncertain circumstances.”


What is Corvinus Tourism Club?

Corvinus Tourism Club is the largest student organisation focusing on tourism and catering which was founded in 2017. Our mission is to accomplish outstanding projects which will produce value and transform the industry. We wish to do so in a supporting and inspiring context so that people feel the urge to work towards their goals and can make the most of themselves as members of a fantastic community. We organize many community events each semester, and we also work on talent management as well as offering solid professional foundations.


Translated from:

https://corvinusonline.blog.hu/2020/06/09/veget_vet_a_koronavirus_az_olcso_repulesnek

Written by: Máté Kovács

Photo: Corvinus Tourism Club

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