Brexit provides below cost flights
Simon Calder, The Independent’s Travel Journalist, writing a couple of days ago observed that after another chaotic day at Westminster, Britain’s travel industry was surveying the damage to consumer confidence – and slashing prices to try to fill aircraft seats and hotel beds on and after “Brexit day”. Nothing specific to Madeira here, but I am sure it has a knock-on effect to all destinations.
Senior travel industry executives surveyed by The Independent unanimously reported an apparent reluctance to commit to short breaks and longer holidays over the next few weeks in the run up to 29 March and across the Easter school break. They blame uncertainty over international travel in the event of a no-deal departure from the European Union (EU) – the present Brexit default legally, although an extension currently seems a possibility.
The consequences would range from British driving licences and the passports of millions of UK travellers losing validity for the EU, to confusion over arrangements for medical treatment. As a result, air fares and hotel rates are tumbling.
The newspaper found thousands of airline tickets to EU destinations available for departures on 29 March itself for less than £13.00. Calder observes that the figure is significant because it represents the Air Passenger Duty that the airline must pay – meaning a loss for the airline as soon as the passenger steps aboard the plane. Ryanair is selling seats from Stansted to Toulouse on 29 March for £9.99. The same price applies from Luton to Cork. The train fare from London to either airport is far higher than the cost of the flight.
Departures on April Fool’s Day, 1 April, are also being sold at distressed pricing levels. Ryanair, whose policy is to cut fares to whatever level is necessary to maintain full planes, is offering no fewer than five Spanish destinations at under £13 one way from Stansted. Calder notes that prices normally rise sharply when April begins, and soar over Easter. But Tui, the UK’s biggest travel firm, is selling a week’s package from Manchester to Malta on 2 April for only £180 per person, including bed-and-breakfast accommodation in a three star hotel. And there are only five days in April when it is necessary to pay more than £12.99 one way from Stansted to Toulouse with Ryanair.