As the South African airline industry is battling with low demand, anyone who is looking to get away can expect fantastic flight deals in May.
This is the view of FlySafair chief marketing office, Kirby Gordon who was speaking about the current state of the industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown devastated the airline industry. Travel restrictions and a fear of catching the virus on a flight forced airlines to ground most of their aircraft.
South African Airways (SAA), which was already struggling before the lockdown hit, stopped most local and international flights in March 2020. The pandemic was essentially the final nail in SAA’s coffin.
Kulula operator Comair, which has been profitable for two decades, were also hard hit by the pandemic and lockdown.
Other airlines also had to adapt quickly. These businesses have large overheads which have to be managed – whether they are flying or not.
FlySafair’s Gordon said they have tried to manage the business as best they can during the lockdown.
“There have been a lot of discussion with business partners and lessors, and negotiations with staff to make the necessary sacrifices to survive the lockdown,” he said.
Commenting on demand and pricing, Gordon said it is difficult for an airline to differentiate itself through branding or service levels.
“We operate the same aircraft, we fly through the same airports, and no one can fly faster than anybody else,” he said.
“We offer a highly commoditised service which means supply and demand dictates the price point for your product.”
Gordon said there is currently a surplus of supply. Airlines in South Africa are only operating at 70% to 80% of what they are capable of doing.
“We are, in a sense, constricting the supply to keep the prices at a point where it is just about tenable to cover the operating cost,” he said.
The reality is that current demand for flights is not meeting supply. The low demand is resulting in lower prices as airlines try to convince consumers to fly with them.
This is good news for South Africans looking for cheap flights.
“Flights over Easter was very affordable, and May is traditionally a very quiet month for the airline industry as there is not a high demand from the leisure industry,” said Gordon.
“If anyone is looking to get away, I think there are going to be fantastic deals in May.”
The table below provides an overview of flight prices from low-cost airlines on the most popular route in South Africa – Johannesburg and Cape Town.
|Johannesburg to Cape Town|
|Mango||5 May 2021||R679||R2,070|
|FlySafair||5 May 2021||R721||R1,222|
|Kulula||5 May 2021||R736||R1,222|
|Lift||5 May 2021||R795||R920|
|Airlink||5 May 2021||R949||R1,202|
|Cape Town to Johannesburg|
|Mango||5 May 2021||R759||R2,070|
|FlySafair||5 May 2021||R821||R920|
|Lift||5 May 2021||R920||R1,075|
|Kulula||5 May 2021||R949||R1,202|
|Airlink||5 May 2021||R1,001||R1,406|