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Industry insiders predict that problems in recruiting airport workers and the rising cost of fuel mean there will be no late bargains. It follows a disastrous half-term week for airlines with over 350 flights axed amid customer fury.
It came as thousands of Britons rushed to enjoy their first holiday abroad since the pandemic.
Friedrich Joussen, boss of travel giant Tui, said: “There will be practically no last-minute offers at low prices this summer.”
Aviation expert Gordon Smith agreed and said: “Flight cancellations mean more people on fewer services, so airlines and holiday firms won’t need to slash prices to fill aircraft.”
John McEwan, ex-Thomas Cook boss and former chair of the travel body Abta, said flight chaos will continue until airlines can hire and train extra staff.
He said: “Prices will ultimately have to go up because the cost of doing business will go up.
“It’s already starting to happen – you can see the prices to certain destinations rising.”
Many of the thousands of workers made redundant in the pandemic have since left the aviation industry.
Now BA has sign-on bonuses of £1,000 for “below-wing” jobs and easyJet is promising a £1,000 payment for staying all summer. Gatwick ground handlers have secured 10 percent pay rises.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian war has seen jet fuel prices soar as crude oil costs rise.
David Tarsh, at travel firm Tarsh Consulting, said: “If there is a 50 percent rise in oil prices, then you are looking at around a 15 percent increase in the cost.”
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