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Commercial strategy

Reconnecting in person at Routes Americas 2021

June 18, 2021

Are the new routes announced during the pandemic here to stay?

Routes Americas is happening June 22-25, 2021. It’s a hybrid format which provides an opportunity for many in the industry to gather and network again for the first time since the pandemic.

As Cirium experts pack their bags to get ready to go to Orlando, we’ve asked them about the key discussions attendees will have at the event.

If you will be traveling to Routes Americas and want to connect, contact your sales rep, or use the Contact Us form to schedule time.

Are the new routes announced during the pandemic here to stay?

In an effort to capture ANY sort of traffic within the US, the industry has seen carriers add new, and untraditional, markets during the pandemic.  Carriers shifted their focus, and some capacity, to leisure-oriented markets—but what happens now to these small markets when demand in traditional business markets likely to pick back up as the country starts traveling for work again.  

Carriers like JetBlue have already announced the cancellation of some of these “pandemic” routes in exchange for returning capacity to its more traditional, pre-pandemic routes.

Some carriers added international routes to countries that had fewer barriers for international visitors (ex. Delta flying to Croatia). Will these markets remain once demand returns to more established international cities? 

Will the typical early fall demand slump be even more dramatic than usual, or will business demand return enough to help the airlines through the slow period?

September and October are traditionally weak demand months in the industry.  Once children are back in school, leisure traffic demand typically takes a hit.  But in a normal year, these are the months when road warriors are back out on the road conducting business.  Cirium’s research shows that 67% of business travelers expect to return to the road in the next 2-5 months, but we don’t know what corporate travel budgets are like and whether this travel will be limited to domestic trips.

Will Canadian carriers survive the pandemic?

Canadian borders are still closed to most travelers—those who can visit Canada may still be subject to quarantine at a significant personal expense.

Carriers like Air Canada depend on international travelers, as a huge percentage of their pre-pandemic service was on international routes (nearly 40% of flights were international).  Without traffic coming to Canada from other countries there is a significantly smaller pool of passengers available to support the carrier’s remaining domestic flying.  

What is going to be “different” once we get cleared to travel globally again?

The pandemic has allowed carriers to evaluate their networks and trim poorly performing routes.  Will carriers finally utilize their partnerships with other carriers more efficiently?  Does this mean it is the time for carriers to add more flying into partner hubs as opposed to overflying these hubs? Cirium’s Scenario Planner may be able to help airlines answer these questions.

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