The political, economic and health repercussions of the global pandemic in 2020 have changed the airline industry in unprecedented ways. Today, major airlines across the world are cancelling tons of flights – leading to major disruption and heightened levels of stress for travelers and airlines alike. In this article, we’ll explore why major airlines are cancelling so many flights right now, and what the consequences are for travelers.
The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Airline Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the airline industry, leading to drastic cuts in the number of flights being offered on major airlines. In 2020, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported the following startling statistics:
• Global air traffic declined by 70 percent in 2020 compared to 2019
• The airline industry lost a whopping $157 billion in revenue in 2020
• As of early 2021, the travel of around 33 percent of airline personnel in 80 countries had been affected
The vast majority of these losses can be attributed to government-mandated travel restrictions, flight bans, and rising health care costs. In response, airlines have been forced to slash their operational costs and make deep cuts to their flight schedules.
Why Major Airlines Are Cancelling Tons of Flights
- Travel Restrictions
The biggest factor contributing to the cancellation of flights has been the implementation of travel restrictions in response to the pandemic. Many countries have instituted strict lockdowns and travel bans to prevent people from traveling to and from regions with high infection rates, leading to fewer passengers on flights and fewer flights taking off in the first place.
- Low Demand
The second major factor contributing to flight cancellations is a lack of demand. With airlines struggling to turn a profit as it is, there is little incentive to keep operating flights if the demand for seats is low. In 2021, there simply aren’t enough people traveling for business or pleasure, leading airlines to cancel flights to avoid the cost of operating and the losses associated with empty seats.
- Capacity Reduction
Many airlines have also reduced their capacity to prevent the spread of the virus. Social distancing requirements have meant that airlines have been forced to reduce the number of seats available onboard, so that passengers are more spread out. As a result, there are fewer flights taking off, even though airlines have been able to adjust their sales strategies and pricing to account for the reduced capacity.
- Cost-Cutting Measures
Finally, airlines have been forced to cut costs to stay afloat. Major airlines have implemented a range of cost-cutting measures, including reducing staff, eliminating unprofitable routes, and cutting the number of flights they offer. These measures have resulted in fewer flights being offered across the industry.
Consequences of Flight Cancellations
- Flight Delays and Disruptions
The biggest and most immediate consequence of flight cancellations is delays and disruption. With fewer flights taking off, it can be difficult for travelers to rebook and can cause massive headaches for airlines had to manage and reschedule flights.
- Increased Ticket Prices
Another consequence of flight cancellations is that ticket prices have shot up. As airlines slash their flight schedules and reduce the number of seats available on flights, those who still need to travel are charged more for their tickets. This has led to increased frustration for airline customers who have been left with no choice but to pay more.
- Loss of Trust in Airlines
Finally, the number of flight cancellations has caused many travelers to lose trust in the airlines. With so many flights being cancelled at short notice, travelers are less likely to choose a particular airline, or en route, or even make a booking in advance, as they don’t trust the airline to honor their reservations. This lack of trust in the airline industry has been a setback for airlines during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic effect on the airline industry, resulting in the cancelation of tons of flights by major airlines worldwide. The main factors contributing to the cancelations are travel restrictions, low demand, capacity reductions, and cost-cutting measures. The consequences of the cancelations have been flight delays, increased ticket prices and a loss of trust in airlines. Despite the difficult times, some airlines have been able to remain profitable by adjusting the way they operate and offering flight incentives for those who still need to travel.