British Airways and Virgin Atlantic cut fares
Wednesday 24 December 2008
UK airlines have come out swinging this Christmas, slashing in an attempt to lure customers into booking up their summer holidays despite the looming recession.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic both announced bigfare cuts in their "January sales" promotions yesterday, sending prices spiralling down to almost 20 year lows.
Airlines hope to entice cash-strapped families considering cutting back on foreign trips next year as the economic conditions worsen, and reverse the trend of already falling passenger numbers. The discounts were made possible by the fall in the price of oil, which is down to $40 a barrel after almost touching $150 a barrel earlier this year.
The fare battle saw BA, which announced its worldwide sale yesterday, reduce the cost of flights to over 75 destinations providing customers book by January 27.
A return to New York between January and March will cost £259, while a trip to Hong Kong and back will cost £429 trip. A spokesman for the airline said prices were always under review, but added that the cuts were part of its traditional sales.
Virgin also announced it had lowered fares, some of which now undercut its rival by just a few pounds. Virgin's return fare to Hong Kong is £425, while travellers can get to New York and back for £258.
A spokesman for Virgin said: "If you take out the taxes and charges the fares are coming down to the levels of the 1980s. It's partly the oil price and partly to stimulate passenger numbers."
The reductions comes against a tough backdrop for the industry. The Association of European Airlines reported that traffic in November dropped 4.7 per cent on the previous year. "A negative figure of this magnitude has not been seen since the Gulf War in early 2003, and is unprecedented for periods unaffected by external shocks," it said.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
- 3 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 4 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...
Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...
£33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...
£30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...