With the warmer months quickly approaching, prospective passengers from several European countries are beginning to formulate provisional summer travel plans. Despite difficulties in deploying vaccines and containing the pandemic, German citizens are among these bookers. But what explains the 700% increase that Eurowings has reported for its Mallorca-bound flights?
What explains the 700% booking increase?
Several factors have contributed to the astronomical rise in bookings on Eurowings‘ Mallorca-bound routes. One aspect is a collective eagerness to travel among the German public after so long stuck at home, almost regardless of the destination.
As Eurowings CEO Jens Bischof explained yesterday in an interview with Aviation Week Network, Germans have been “literally sitting on packed suitcases” awaiting the chance to go away.
This desire manifested itself in increased bookings earlier in the month when Germany took Mallorca off its coronavirus risk list. Despite Foreign Minister Heiko Maas insisting that the de-listing was “not an invitation to go there,” scores of bookings quickly followed. This would likely have been the case regardless of the destination.
However, the fact that it was Mallorca specifically caused this effect to be amplified. After all, the Spanish holiday island is immensely popular among German tourists, who often nickname it ‘the 17th German state.’ Therefore, the sharp increase can be attributed to a strong desire to go away, and Mallorca’s popularity among Germans. Bischof explains that, after the de-listing,
“We got literally flooded by bookings. Take Munich to Mallorca, for instance, the spike was up 700%. As a result, many connections were immediately sold out. Even after 30 years in the industry, for me, that was new. We added about 350 additional flights over the Easter period. And we did that basically overnight, in order [for the flights] to be bookable again.”
New restrictions coming into place
However, the scores of Germans to have placed these bookings may ultimately have to stay at home over Easter. Just this morning, thelocal.de reported that the country would be placed under its strictest lockdown yet, between April 1st and April 5th.
Due to this new lockdown, domestic tourism within Germany will not be permitted over the Easter period. On a similar note, federal and local governments throughout the country have requested that airlines refrain from scheduling any further flights abroad over this period. The country will also implement a requirement for all inbound travelers to be tested before flying.
Stepping up its recovery plans
Eurowings will hope that it can operate its upcoming schedule as planned, in order to profit from the increased bookings. The additional flights represent the latest in several cautious steps that the airline is using to drive its recovery.
Another aspect of Eurowings’ recovery has been the right-sizing of its fleet. Bischof detailed the complex nature of this process yesterday, explaining that, at the start of the crisis, the airline “canceled all [of its] wet lease obligations.” This saw its short-haul fleet streamlined to consist solely of Airbus A320 family members.
At its pre-pandemic peak, Eurowings had been operating more than 100 aircraft every day. During its quietest periods since the pandemic began, this figure has fallen as low as 20. Bischof reports improvement in this field, stating,
“If you ask me today, we’re operating 25-28 depending on the day. We will ramp this up now very quickly until the peak of the summer to 80 aircraft.”
Moving forward, Bischof hopes that this figure will reach the 100 mark next year. This will be boosted by the arrival of 10 A320neo family aircraft. The airline also has big plans for its network, and is set to begin UK-Mallorca services this year. All in all, Eurowings hopes to better reflect its name by developing a pan-European network in the coming years.
What do you make of Eurowings’ sevenfold increase in bookings to Mallorca? Will the German leisure carrier be a factor in your summer travel plans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.