Summer Travel Forecast: Plenty Of Flight Delays And Cancellations, With Higher Airfares

Yesterday, 462 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were cancelled and 6,623 were delayed, according to FlightAware, an app that provides real-time, historical, and predictive flight tracking data.

That wasn’t just a blip. Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled the day before, as well as the day before that.

While many of these disruptions can be chalked up to staffing shortages, it’s worth noting that pilots from Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines have been picketing in the past week. “That means there’s a systemic issue that isn’t going away by summer in terms of flight crew or pilot shortages,” says Kathleen Bangs, a former commercial airline pilot and spokesperson for FlightAware.

Symptomatic of the same problem is that carriers like JetBlue and Alaska Airlines have been cutting back on routes — not just for a few days or weeks, but months into the future as they try to manage staff shortages.

One airline pulling out or reducing frequency on a route can greatly impact airfares. “We’ve seen that when lower-cost carriers, such as JetBlue, enter a new route, it can drive down prices overall on the route by about 20%,” says Berg, lead economist at the deal-finding site Hopper. “However, when there’s less competition on a route because that carrier exits, prices tend to rebound by about 12%.”

“In one-off instances this won’t have a significant impact on airfare,” says Berg. “But extended and far-reaching cancellations will have a more pronounced impact on demand and put upward pressure on airfare.”

This partly explains why some carriers are backpedaling on their initial peak-season projections. “Some airlines like Alaska Airlines were forecasting even greater capacity than in pre-pandemic 2019, but have had to scale back sky high expectations slightly due to labor shortages and increased pilot attrition and pilot shortages,” says Bangs. “Other airlines such as Southwest are reporting seeing similar issues with not being able to get enough pilots trained and back online.”

For the airlines and their customers, staffing problems couldn’t come at a worse time. As infections from the original omicron variant fell in February and March, travel demand came roaring back. Currently, U.S. airline passenger volume is averaging about 92% of the pre-pandemic levels, according to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) throughput data.

Surging demand, coupled with a 30% rise in fuel prices since Russia invaded Ukraine, is sending airfares skyward as we head into the summer travel season.

As of now, domestic airfare is trending 7% above 2019 prices at $330 round-trip, according to Hopper’s data. “That is the highest average domestic airfare we’ve seen since we started collecting this data,” says Berg. “International airfare is matching 2019 prices at $810 round trip.”

Bangs doesn’t see a quick fix on the horizon. “What we’re seeing is not just a growing pilot shortage,” she says. “For some carriers it’s attrition to other rival airlines that pilots view as having better working conditions, greater pay, or a more favorable union contract.”

“Many airlines are building up relationships with aviation universities and with regional carriers to create a pipeline of pilots they can draw from, but right now that well is getting dry as the regionals struggle to keep their top-tier pilots long enough to meet the demands of their schedules,” explains Bangs.

For travelers who haven’t booked their summer vacations yet, Berg recommends not waiting too much longer, since the combination of booming demand, higher jet fuel prices and airline staff shortages will only drive summer airfares higher still.

“Prices are on the rise overall this summer, so you should use a price monitoring app like Hopper to start tracking fares now so you can buy at the right time,” she advises. “In general, you’ll want to book summer trips by the first week of May.”

I watch trends in travel. Prior to working at Forbes, I was a longtime freelancer who contributed hundreds of articles to Conde Nast Traveler, CNN Travel, Travel + Leisure, Afar, Reader’s

Source: Summer Travel Forecast: Plenty Of Flight Delays And Cancellations, With Higher Airfares


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Thousands Of Cashless Russians Stranded Overseas Amid Flight Cancellations

Thousands of Russian tourists are stuck overseas, running short on cash and without functioning credit cards after their flights back home were canceled following Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Around 6,500 Russian tourists are stuck in Thailand—a popular vacation spot for Russians who accounted for the largest group of travelers to that country in February—due to flight cancellations, and many of them are left without functioning credit cards after Visa and Mastercard suspended service in Russia, the Associated Press reported.

The Russian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, told Reuters that there was “support from the government directly” to Russians stuck there, adding that Russia’s Pochta Bank is providing virtual cards using UnionPay, a Chinese credit card company.

Nearly 15,000 Russian tourists were stuck in the Dominican Republic as of March 2, AFP reported, and the country planned to provide accommodation to them for the time being.

Hundreds of Russians were left behind in Bulgaria, a popular destination for Russian skiers, as of March 1 after European countries closed their air space to Russian flights, Reuters reported.

There are few direct flights to Russia from leading international destinations after major foreign airlines suspended service to the country and the EU, U.S. and other countries closed their air space to Russian airlines, while Russian carriers have been forced to curtail service internationally over EU sanctions that have required foreign lessors to seek the return of their jets.

There are still ways to fly to Russia, including connecting through the Middle East, but not all Russians overseas may want to go home at the moment given the cratering economy and worries that President Vladimir Putin could declare a general mobilization.

Source: Thousands Of Cashless Russians Stranded Overseas Amid Flight Cancellations



Thai authorities later this year expect to drop most quarantine and testing regulations that have been in place to fight the spread of the virus, which would make entry easier for foreign travelers.

Thailand may have to lower its targets for tourist arrivals and revenues this year because of the knock-on effects of rising oil prices and inflation on global travel, Yuthasak was quoted saying by the Bangkok Post newspaper.

“Tourism is still a key engine to revive our economy, even though revenue was stymied by negative factors,” he said. According to the report, Thailand had projected gaining a total of 1.28 trillion baht ($38.4 billion) in revenue this year from foreign and domestic tourists.

There are few direct flights to Russia from main worldwide locations after main overseas airways suspended service to the nation and the EU, U.S. and different international locations closed their air house to Russian airways, whereas Russian carriers have been pressured to curtail service internationally over EU sanctions which have required overseas lessors to hunt the return of their jets.

There are nonetheless methods to fly to Russia, together with connecting via the Center East, however not all Russians abroad could need to go house in the meanwhile given the cratering economic system and worries that President Vladimir Putin might declare a normal mobilization.

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Nearly 17,000 Russian, Ukrainian tourists stuck in Dominican Republic (AFP)

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Russia Seeks Indian Investment in its Oil and Gas Sector
Concern Grows over Traffickers Targeting Ukrainian Refugees

Turkey, Armenia Hold ‘Constructive’ Talks on Mending Ties

Russia Warns EU of Soaring Energy Prices

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Hotel Industry Recovering But Faces Bumpy Road

The hotel industry is projected to rebound to near pre-pandemic levels after being battered by the outbreak of COVID-19, but the path to full recovery is still a ways away, according to a new report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

The report’s findings reveal that 2022 will be a year of growth for the industry, as “bleisure” travel – the crossover of business and leisure – will launch new demand. According to an analysis by Oxford Economics, demand for hotel rooms is projected to approach 2019 levels in 2022.

But even though the industry will be moving toward recovery in the new year, full recovery can still take several years for reasons including the loss of ancillary and room revenue. In 2020 and 2021, hotels lost a collective $111.8 billion in room revenue alone.

“Hotels have faced enormous challenges over the past two years, and we are still a long way from full recovery,” AHLA CEO Chip Rogers said. “The uncertainty about the omicron variant suggests just how difficult it will be to predict travel readiness in 2022, adding to the challenges hotels are already facing.”

Leisure travelers will drive most of the positive momentum for the industry in 2022, but business travelers are only expected to represent 43.6% of room revenue compared to 52.5% in 2019.

As the pandemic keeps much of America’s workforce at home, business travel is expected to stay down more than 20% throughout the year. Meanwhile, only 58% of meetings and events are expected to take place.

On the contrary, the influx in bleisure travel revealed that 89% of business travelers are looking to add a private trip to their next professional outing in the next 12 months.

“The slow return of business travel and fewer meetings and events continue to have a significant negative impact on our industry,” Rogers added. “The growth of leisure and bleisure travel represents a shift for our industry, and hotels will continue evolving to meet the needs of these ‘new’ travelers.

Source: Hotel industry recovering but faces bumpy road | Fox Business



The hospitality Industry & the impact of COVID-19

As the effects of COVID-19 spread across the entire world, the primary focus for governments and businesses is the safety of their people. Whilst this focus will continue, the implications for economic growth and corporate profits have to lead to a sharp sell-off in equity markets across the globe.

We are proud to see that our hospitality and leisure clients, being the first ones that experienced the extreme bad weather conditions, are moving quickly and remain focused to understand and quantify the operational and financial impact for their business. The impact is huge, and not yet predictable, on both revenue and supply chains.

Decisions being taken to shut down hotels, restaurants, theme parks, cinemas, not to mention the entire disruptive effect of the travel ecosystem, all have a significant impact on worldwide tourism. As a team, Operators and Investors are trying to mitigate the cash and working capital issues, and stay in close contact with their stakeholders.

We are proud to see that this sector shows its maturity level: in working together, showing their true hospitality commitments in helping out our society where they can. For example by making their venue available for hospital beds and hospital employees.

The situation we are in also brings new business models and opportunities, in defining for instance new delivery concepts, human capital sharing platforms, initiatives in promoting the “staycation or holistay concept” and the use of the less productive time to work on activities that were normally pushed forward like asset counts, security plans, defining standard operating procedures, social media plans etc.

The good news is that our colleagues in Asia already see a pick up in this sector, although only at the starting point. This gives hope for the sector at this stage in time. Stay positive, stay focused and stay alert on your financial situation.

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New EU Travel Restrictions: Boosters Required After 9 Months To Travel Freely

The EU has voted to make Covid Certificates valid for only 9 months, meaning that a booster shot will become a requirement to travel freely across Europe in 2022.

All the countries in the EU (plus the Schengen area) have been using the EU Digital Covid Certificate to allow anyone to move freely around Europe (and indeed within their own countries) since July 2021–people show the pass to say they have either been vaccinated fully, have had Covid-19 or they have recently been tested negative for Covid-19.

Many countries are currently using these passes to enter restaurants, bars and cinemas for instance, which has encouraged vaccinations, as many people don’t want the effort of having to take Covid-19 tests every couple of days to be out and about.

Tourists can convert their own health certificates showing proof of vaccination status into these health passes when they arrive into the EU–in France, for instance, pharmacies have applied for the right to be able to do this.

As Covid-19 infection rates surge across European countries, Tuesday’s move follows something that individual countries are already doing, but on a wider, legally mandated basis across the bloc.

As reported by The New York Times, many countries are already moving to demand a booster shot for traveling/entering public spaces without restrictions. In Italy, Wednesday is the deadline to receive a booster jab for passes to be considered active and in France, over 65s have already passed the deadline and from January onwards, all adults must have had a booster for their Pass Sanitaire to remain active. Austria already considers the pass inactive after 9 months of the last Covid vaccination.

Didier Reynders, the EU commissioner for justice, said in a statement that it was “now up to the member states to ensure boosters will be rolled out swiftly to protect our health and ensure safe traveling.”

The implication is, therefore, that tourists will need to have had a booster in order to travel freely across the EU in 2022.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I have a background in research, business and finance.

Source: New EU Travel Restrictions: Boosters Required After 9 Months To Travel Freely


More Critics:

Smart cities have been a long time coming. Now, advances in artificial intelligence, 5G, cloud technology, big data and the internet of things, are aligning reality with user expectations. Pundits agree: a city is smart when public and private sectors use technology and cooperate for the well-being of citizens, for environmental sustainability and prosperity.

Dubai’s Expo 2020 campus is arguably the world’s best example to date of a purpose-built, connected urban environment. Siemens has made it a blueprint for future smart cities. With over 130 connected buildings, on an area twice the size of Monaco, Expo 2020 Dubai is using technology to make it the most digitalized, sustainable, and secure international fair in the 170-year history of world exhibitions.

Expo 2020 Dubai is the first Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Its smartness hinges on MindSphere, Siemens’ cloud-based operating system, in which data generated by elevators, air-conditioners, lights and other hardware are linked and brought into relation with each other to obtain new insights and reshape urban living.

Creating the future

Powered by AI, separate platforms to manage energy, smart-buildings and security work together to create synergy and efficiency. They allow building managers to control functions such as cooling, air quality, access and fire alarms – in real time using an app.

This isn’t technology for its own sake. It draws information from 210,000 data points, 5,500 doors and over 15,000 cameras to optimize operations, reduce emissions, enhance visitors’ comfort and security – all at once, seamlessly. It saves energy. It balances the peaks and troughs of renewable power. It optimizes battery storage and e-mobility charging.

Expo 2020’s theme is “connecting minds and creating the future.” It speaks to smart cities’ potential: Smartification will transform city administration, transportation, health and public safety – a process some analysts expect to generate global economic benefits of $20 trillion through 2026.

That’s why investments to make cities smarter are predicted to more than double from $100 billion in 2021 to $250 billion in 2030. Much will be by the private sector – in smart buildings and smart microgrids – as well as by government. Everyone will benefit as technology makes fast-growing cities more resilient.

A decarbonizing world needs cities that can better integrate renewable power from roof-top solar panels and wind turbines. It needs cities that are better able to manage traffic flows, more efficient in their management of water and wastewater, cities with clean air and efficient government.

City smartness is a question of degree – and intent. The Smart City Index was created in 2019 by Switzerland’s Institute for Management Development and the Singapore University for Technology and Design. Its ranking is based on economic and technological data, as well as citizens’ perceptions.  Last year, the top places went to Singapore, Helsinki and Zurich – Berlin ranked 38th, Dubai 43rd, Madrid 45th.  

Expect that ranking to change next year. After Expo ends, its smart infrastructure will be used to create a new, human-centric community in Dubai South, called District 2020. This innovation-driven ecosystem and mixed-use development will evolve in the years ahead, with Siemens as an anchor tenant.

The Future of Travel in the Covid-19 Era


After being shut down for nearly a year and a half, international travel has started to pick up again, with countries in the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe paving the way. The reopening of borders has been far from straightforward as the world negotiates inequities in Covid-19 containment, vaccine access, and economic recovery. And everything can change in an instant.

For airlines, airports, cruise lines, and hotels, the new normal is increasingly looking like the old normal; While advanced cleaning protocols are (happily) here to stay, social distancing and even mask requirements have started to peel away. A lack of cohesive guidelines from governing authorities mean that protocols are being patched together by individual properties and companies, leaving consumers to wade through fine print and determine what fits their risk thresholds.

If the wealthiest initially set the tone for the future of nonessential travel, the masses are now unleashing a storm of pent-up demand that has caused prices to multiply and availability to evaporate. Compounding those issues are labor shortages in many popular vacation destinations, already slim inventory gobbled up by last year’s cancelations, and a hampered import market that’s making it impossible to get a rental car or wrap up that hotel renovation. Consumers may feel safe traveling again, but it’s going to be a bumpy rebound.

Those of us who remain stuck in place can still daydream. According to the National Institutes of Health, simply planning a trip can spark immeasurable joy—and there’s high hope that the ongoing challenges of availability and border restrictions will iron themselves out by 2022. Getting into an adventurous frame of mind can remind us of the power of travel—not only in the billions of dollars in daily economic activity but also to forge cross-cultural connections and bring us closer to those we love.

By The Numbers

  • $150 million The amount of cash U.S.-based airlines were losing on a daily basis as of March 2021.
  • 1.2 million Average increase of daily travelers passing through TSA checkpoints in June 2021, compared to June 2020. The number still represents roughly a 30% decline from 2019 figures.
  • 67 Percentage of people who would feel confident traveling once vaccinated.

Why It Matters

It’s not just your vacation or business trip that’s on the line. The travel industry customarily accounts for 10% of the global economy, rippling to the remotest corners of the world. Each trip a person takes sets off a domino effect of consumption that directs dollars to airlines, hoteliers, restaurateurs, taxi drivers, artisans, tour guides, and shopkeepers, to name a few. In all, the tourism industry employs 300 million people. Especially in developing countries, these jobs can present pathways out of poverty and opportunities for cultural preservation.

In 2020, the pandemic put a third of all tourism jobs at risk, and airlines around the world said they needed as much as $200 billion in bailouts. By December, the World Tourism Organization had tallied $935 billion in global losses from the tourism standstill, and was estimating that the ripple effects would result in a total economic decline exceeding $2 trillion. Even with international tourism now cautiously reopening, the organization expects that the world will not return to 2019 tourism levels until 2023.

According to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council, every 1% increase in international arrivals adds $7.23 billion to the world’s cumulative gross domestic product. Any improvement in this sector is significant—and it’s just beginning.

Americans, who have easy access to vaccines and command an overwhelming share of the international travel market, are back on the road; two-thirds intend to take a trip in 2021. In the U.S., flight capacity has climbed back to 84% of 2019 levels. The questions are what it will take for the rest of the world to catch up and how the industry must evolve to be flexible at handling future Covid-19 variants so travelers will feel safe and willing to spend.

Grounded for many months, airlines are beefing up their summer schedules—though the number of flights will be a fraction of their pre-pandemic frequency. Airports are still mostly ghost towns (some have even been taken over by wildlife), and international long-distance travel is all but dead. Around the globe, the collapse of the tourist economy has bankrupted hotels, restaurants, bus operators, and car rental agencies—and thrown an estimated 100 million people out of work.

With uncertainty and fear hanging over traveling, no one knows how quickly tourism and business travel will recover, whether we will still fly as much, and what the travel experience will look like once new health security measures are in place. One thing is certain: Until then, there will be many more canceled vacations, business trips, weekend getaways, and family reunions.

Travel will normalize more quickly in safe zones that coped well with COVID-19, such as between South Korea and China, or between Germany and Greece. But in poorer developing countries struggling to manage the pandemic, such as India or Indonesia, any recovery will be painfully slow.

All this will change the structure of future global travel. Many will opt not to move around at all, especially the elderly. Tourists who experiment with new locations in their safe zones or home countries will stick to new habits. Countries with strong pandemic records will deploy them as tourism marketing strategies—discover Taiwan! Much the same will be true for business, where ease of travel and a new sense of common destiny within each safe zone will restructure investment along epidemiological lines.

With the support of IATA and others, the International Civil Aviation Organization developed a global restart plan to keep people safe when traveling. Restart measures will be bearable for those who need to travel, with universal implementation the priority. It will give governments and travelers the confidence that the system has strong biosafety protections. And it should give regulators the confidence to remove or adjust measures in real time as risk levels change and technology advances.

Contributors: Nikki Ekstein

Source: The Future of Travel in the Covid-19 Era – Bloomberg



The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the tourism industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as slump in demand among travelers. The tourism industry has been massively affected by the spread of coronavirus, as many countries have introduced travel restrictions in an attempt to contain its spread. The United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated that global international tourist arrivals might decrease by 58% to 78% in 2020, leading to a potential loss of US$0.9–1.2 trillion in international tourism receipts.

In many of the world’s cities, planned travel went down by 80–90%.Conflicting and unilateral travel restrictions occurred regionally and many tourist attractions around the world, such as museums, amusement parks, and sports venues closed. UNWTO reported a 65% drop in international tourist arrivals in the first six months of 2020. Air passenger travel showed a similar decline. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development released a report in June 2021 stating that the global economy could lose over US$4 trillion as a result of the pandemic.


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