I *Think* We’ve Hit Rock Bottom

Don’t flame me. I hope I’m not tempting fate either. But I think the airline industry may have reached the bottom.

Let me explain.

Over the past couple of weeks, many of you may well have seen that I have been keeping track of both the British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fleet. For the first few days, there were a number of updates to be made to both documents. Over the past 5-7 days however, things have stabilised. The British Airways document has had only a couple of updates in the past week. And from logging the Virgin Atlantic flights, they seem to have stabilised over the past week or so too. A definite pattern has emerged.

My log of every Virgin Atlantic flight in April

In the early days, there were a couple of flights from Heathrow to the Caribbean. Those have now stopped and the airline is now operating flights to New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Hong Kong on a regular basis. There is a pattern with the fleet too. Every one of their 787’s (minus G-VOOH, which has engine issues) has flown in April. Each day, 3 of the 4 Airbus A350’s undertake a flight.

With British Airways, it’s a similar story. There are a few more routes there, but it seems to be the same routes that are being operated every day.

But it’s not just British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. The aviation industry in general appears to have reached the bottom. If we think back to a few weeks ago, it seemed like we were hearing every few hours that another airline had suspended its operations. And that the headlines were that another airline was just days away from bankruptcy without a bailout. Well, those headlines are still around, but not quite as prominent.

Where Next?

As of now, the middle of April, the aviation industry is mostly in a state of hibernation. Just a few key routes being flown – at least in Europe – and most of the worlds aircraft are on the ground.

A few UK charter airlines have announced the they plan to restart their operations in June 2020. Personally, I think thats a little bold of them considering nobody knows when things in the world will start to recover.

But if we assume that the June deadline sticks, then not much will change between now and then. The airlines that are still operating will continue to hold their skeleton schedules. Hopefully a number of airlines will survive.

However, if things continue they way they are much further into the summer, then we may well see a few airlines disappear.

Obviously, the summer 2020 season won’t be anywhere near as profitable for the airlines as the summer 2019 season was. But if the airlines can at least get something going, then it will lift them from the bottom of the barrel they currently find themselves in.

It will still be tough for them, but the worst of this situation should be behind them.

People are saying that they won’t travel until at least summer 2021. Which is understandable at the moment. However, come September time when (hopefully) this mess is a distant memory, the airlines are selling tickets for rock bottom prices and people have been couped up indoors for months… I suspect a week on the beach in wherever will appear to be very attractive.

This is where the airlines need to take advantage of that. And no doubt they will.

If the travel bans carry on towards the later part of 2020 though, then there will be bigger problems I suspect. Although we are only in April. Things really got serious in March. Can the world really grind to a halt for three quarters of the year?

What Next For This Site?

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ll likely have noticed far fewer updates over the past couple of weeks. With the aviation industry being in hibernation mode, there hasn’t been all that much to talk about. There have been a few bits and pieces, but nowhere near as much. And obviously no trip reports!

I have been making a few adjustments behind the scenes however. You’ll notice you can now sort through my past trip reports by alliance/airline. I will make a similar adjustment for the hotels lounges categories too.

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