Fitch Ratings has revised private forecasts of the global passenger traffic for the 2021 and 2022 on account of the Omicron mutations.
International and regional airlines are braced for more volatility due to the varied strain Omicron of COVID-19. According to the news, carriers will need to be able to change programs and destinations at the last minute and to rely more on the domestic markets where it is possible.
With many travelers having already booked travel for the holiday season, a peak period for the carriers, there are growing concerns in the industry that cancellations and future bookings will further impede the travel market’s recovery.
Accordingly, Fitch Ratings announced that it has revised for the private forecasts of the global passenger traffic for the 2021 and 2022, because of the emergence of new variant strains such as the Omicron, emphasizing that conditions may be volatile for the airlines. Deirdre Fulton, partner at consulting firm MIDAS Aviation was cited saying:
“It looks a little bit like we are back where we were a year ago, and this is not a good prospect for the industry, and not only for this.”
The impact of the Omicron will vary depending on the country and the region because of the way management from any government, and of a different character airlines around the world and their business models.
Already, Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings has suspended new bookings for international flights that arrive in Japan by the end of December as the country tightens border controls. Also, Cathay Pacific Airways Hong Kong, which has domestic market and works only in 10% of the pre-pandemic capacity, said it is too early to assess the impact of Omicron in demand.Airlines in countries with large, strong domestic markets, like the US, China and Russia are better shielded from the largest uncertainties of international travel. Other examples reflect the uneasy situation.
The travel booking website Kayak reported that the searches for international travel from the US decreased just 5% Sunday –rate, which is in sharp contrast with a decrease of 26% in searches from Britain, who had it tightens the context of diagnostic tests for the arrivals.
The good news is, Airlines around the world appear to be more flexible in terms of the adaptation of the programs and destinations during the pandemic.