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Business News of Monday, 21 December 2020


Surge in airline Christmas bookings offers hope

Ghana's Kotoka International Airport Ghana's Kotoka International Airport

There has been a surge in flight bookings for the Christmas festive season, with airlines offering perks to travelers to stimulate demand.

Various airlines are offering additional baggage allowance and a complimentary stay for travelers.

Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, is also offering travelers up to 20% off for all online bookings in its Holiday Sale.

Kenya Airways, Asky Airlines, and other major European carriers servicing the Kotoka International Airport have special offers for the Christmas season.

The small surge in flight booking has seen the load factor—the percentage of airline seats that are filled– of major carriers rising from about 50percent as at the end of October to about 75 percent as at December 20.

Though this is a far cry from the pre-COVID numbers–with daily pre-COVID flights reduced to at most four frequencies per day by most airlines operating in Ghana.

Indeed, research by ForwardKeys reveals a late rush took place during November. Olivier Ponti, Vice President, insights, ForwardKeys, said: “In normal years, we see people taking international flights during the Christmas holiday period to gather with family members they have not seen for a while.

“But this year, such behaviour is being dampened as it poses a risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus; and it is being made more difficult by various travel restrictions,” the research revealed.

“At the same time, many destinations which are heavily dependent on tourism have made strenuous efforts to stay open for business, implementing COVID-resistant protocols, to ensure their valuable leisure visitors can come and remain safe.”

“This is particularly true of numerous places in the Caribbean and Mexico, which are entering their peak season,” it added.

“They are being relatively very successful, in comparison to other parts of the world, attracting visitors from their most important market, the USA, who are eager for a holiday outdoors in the sunshine.”

The recent development offers hope amidst a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in various regions of the world which has greatly impacted the aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors.