‘This impact is not seasonal’: Demand for flights to Europe plummets amid Russia’s bombardment of Ukraine

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Many people are rethinking European getaways this spring in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a new report.

Travel booking app Hopper looked at global flight search demand and airfares to gauge the effects of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the corresponding spike in oil prices. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, travel demand in Europe rebounded as the wave of COVID-19 cases linked to the omicron variant waned.

In the days that followed, demand plummeted. Hopper’s analysis found that searches for return flights between the US and Europe were down 9% on average from expected levels. “This impact is not seasonal and is not visible for flights to other regions or in the US domestic market,” Hopper economist Adit Damodaran wrote in the report.

From mid-February, demand for international flights shifted outside of Europe, Hopper found. Now, destinations such as Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean account for 61% of the app’s international bookings.

Europe, meanwhile, currently accounts for 15% of bookings, up from 21% a few weeks ago. At the same time in 2019, European routes accounted for around 30% of bookings.

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Airfares to European destinations have increased over the past month by around 16% on average in mid-February. This is not typical for this time of year – in 2019 air fares were stable between January and February. These increases, however, are not directly the result of the conflict in Ukraine.

“While higher kerosene prices from the Russian-Ukrainian war are likely to create additional upward pressure on airfares, the impact is likely delayed and not reflected in these particular increases,” Damodaran wrote.

Jet fuel prices rose to their highest level since August 2014, reflecting the upward movement in crude oil prices. But as airlines buy jet fuel months in advance, it will take time for the increase to be reflected in airfares seen in the market. Higher prices could come this summer if crude oil gets even more expensive, Damodaran wrote.

Other factors are also contributing to the rise in airfares. In particular, increased demand for air travel as people feel comfortable resuming their flights post-pandemic has driven prices up, especially as airlines have faced challenges to fully resume operations. activities.

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