There was a time, just three or four years ago, in fact, when the aviation industry seemed to be on a path of unstoppable success. Fuel was relatively cheap, routes to and from almost anywhere were easy to obtain and almost everyone wanted to travel. We all had wandering feet, and as long as the planes were able to fly full then airline companies could enjoy healthy profits.
Then of course, it all started to go wrong. The Covid pandemic stopped overseas travel in its tracks, with very little in the way of warning and even less in the way of contingency plans. Planes were grounded everywhere from Aberdeen to Zagreb and all points in between. It was quick, it was stunning and for the airline companies it was a complete and utter disaster.
As with all things, now there is good news and there is bad news. The pandemic has slowed and slowed, and with luck it will no longer have an impact on how we travel overseas. Fingers crossed, toes crossed, everything crossed. The bad news, however, comes in the form of a devastating cost of living crisis. It seems we’re just lurching from crisis to crisis these days, doesn’t it?
All of which leaves the big question: now that we are able to travel abroad again, are we going to be able to even afford it? We’ve been hearing strong warnings about the price of energy for homes and businesses, as well as increases in the cost of food. If we’re spending more and more on electricity and gas, not to mention on bread and butter, how can we justify that week of sun and fun in Malaga?
Of course, we’ve had inflation in the past and we’ve had recession in the past, and we’ve always managed to find enough money to head off from Gatwick for seven days of recuperation. In many ways, trips like this were a form of therapy, a way of helping us cope with the usual pressures and problems. This time around, the cost of living crisis seems more of a game-changer than in previous years.
Customers who could become permanent ex-customers
Another issue for some who travelled in the past is more to do with the environment than with the economy. Despite major improvements that are in the offing, such as the development of sustainable airline fuel, flying on a passenger plane is hardly the greenest of travel options. The much-vaunted staycation became increasingly popular during the pandemic, and for some people it has actually replaced the overseas trip altogether. These are among those individuals who might never fly again, in fact.
We all see the world in our own unique ways, and while some people will immediately change their travelling habits, others will continue to fly whenever they get the chance. For those that do, there’s little doubt that the cost of flights, hotels, car hire and the like will be significantly higher. And the same will apply to food, of course. That Greek salad you’ve been looking forward to since last time you flew will undoubtedly be a few euros dearer now.
Some former globe-trotters will find it easy to stop flying in the current economic climate, but for others it could prove a lot more difficult. We all have our own ideas on what’s a priority for our hard-earned cash, after all. For some, the latest designer name fashions are a must, others always want the newest top of the range car while a few see interior design makeovers as an annual must-have. We’re all different, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
In the coming years, some people are highly likely to forego overseas holidays for a while and never go back to them again. They will have had a fortnight in Cornwall or a week in Blackpool and suddenly decided that was all they really wanted all along. The aviation industry, worryingly, may suddenly realise those are revenue streams that will never return. The times, as the great Bob Dylan once said, really are a-changing.
Rose Media Group is based in Burgess Hill, and we specialise in B2B PR for a selection of clients in various industries. Founded by Aneela Rose in 2004, we take a great interest in developments in the aviation sector.