South Africans can expect 'affordable air travel for longer in 2018'

2018-01-17 07:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - While global travel prices are predicted to rise this year, South Africans can continue to expect affordable domestic air ticket prices.

This is according to local low-cost carrier, FlySafair, whose Head of Sales and Distribution, Kirby Gordon says that “A strengthening rand means that we will be able to offset the increase in oil prices for a little longer than we would have with a stagnant or weakening currency."

The airline says that this is "particularly good news" as the 2018 Global Travel Forecast - conducted by the GBTA Foundation in conjunction with Carlson Wagonlit Travel - predicted in 2017 that "air travel would rise by as much as 7% in some regions across the world in 2018".

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“Contrary to international trends, domestic passenger numbers in South Africa in 2017 exhibited no growth against 2016’s figures, but the local market continues to be characterised by strong and healthy competition, which plays an important part in keeping costs down,” Gordon says.

When FlySafair entered the domestic market, Travelstart reported price decreases of as much as 39% on some of the routes which FlySafair operated.

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“One of our greatest cost-side exposures is to the oil price and, by proxy, the rand/dollar exchange. Favourable trends in the local oil price are good for everyone because it means that competition will remain healthy, which in turn keeps costs down," says Gordon, adding that’s why it is important for airlines to ensure that "service is excellent, our on-time performance is spot-on and that our schedule and route network are both convenient and operationally efficient, because it’s these factors that will keep people flying".

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