Bargain Airfares Won’t Last Long as Brits Snap Up Leisure Trips

Sun-starved Brits are snapping up cut-price trips to Greece and Spain after the U.K. said it was working on a road map for restoring flights wiped out by the coronavirus crisis.

Average fares for travel to the Mediterranean countries this summer are a maximum of 11% lower than in 2019, based on data for the first three days of this week, with steeper discounts available to Portugal, Italy and Turkey, according to analysis published Friday by flight search engine Skyscanner.

The rush to book, unleashed after Britain unveiled plans to allow travel to resume as early as May 17, could lead to an increase in fares, depending on the pace at which airlines add seats and routes. Discount carrier EasyJet Plc and the U.K. arm of tour operator TUI AG both reported a jump in holiday sales of at least 500% following Monday’s announcement.

“We may see some price increases as demand returns,” said Hugh Aitken, Skyscanner’s vice president for flights. “We expect prices to evolve as more clearer paths to recovery are charted out and network planners build in capacity and schedules to allow airlines to fly at scale.”

Bargain Airfares Won’t Last Long as Brits Snap Up Leisure Trips

Spain has emerged as the top destination for bookings from the U.K., where vaccination levels are ahead of the rest of Europe, along with Greece, whose tourism minister has said Britons who have had the jab should be able to enter this summer without Covid-19 tests.

Bigger discounts on fares remain available to Italy and Turkey as well as Portugal, the only European country from which passengers arriving in Britain are required to quarantine in a hotel at their own cost.

Aitken said travelers should still be able to find “good value” as demand returns, and that airlines and travel agents are likely to continue to offer ticket flexibility while the extent of border curbs remains uncertain.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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