British Airways has dramatically increased the price of flights from Manchester to London over the Easter school holidays. This may be an attempt to discourage people from booking while the aviation industry struggles with a number of issues.
The lowest price for an economy ticket on the short haul 170 mile flight to the capital this week is £429. There is one flight on Sunday April 10 for £105, however, nearly all other flights are more than £400 for the flight that takes little over an hour. For comparison, a train from Piccadilly to London Euston can be booked for as little as £30.
Flights are being listed at this extortionate price until Easter Monday (March 18), the end of the Easter holidays. This weekend is expected to see passenger levels at its highest since the pandemic begun, as vaccination rates and more relaxed rules mean people can travel more freely across Europe again.
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This comes amid continuing chaos at Manchester airport with airliner Easyjet cancelling several flights over the weekend. Bosses last month warned passengers could face queues for ‘several weeks’ after admitting they are struggling with staff shortages. Manchester Airports Group (MAG) said they have also struggled with the easing of restrictions as well as a large number of bags being rejected at security.
The Independent reports that British Airways is ‘effectively blocking sales on short-haul flights’ for airports across the UK, while prices for competition remain at a fraction of the price. This includes BA charging £419 for a one way ticket from London Heathrow to Dublin, while a Ryanair ticket from London Stansted to Dublin can be bought for as little as £15.
The last time an airliner imposed fares, known as ‘deterrent fares’, was Monarch in 2017 before the company collapsed. Efforts were being made to save the company, and so flights were priced at extortionate prices in order to deter people from booking the flights.
BA is not believed to be in any financial trouble, according to The Independent, but with high rates of staff sickness in a number of departments affecting a number of airports in the UK, it is not believed the airline can operate its planned schedule.
Therefore, ‘deterrent fares’ could be a way of reducing the number of people that could be affected by cancellations if flights were fully booked. British Airways have been approached for a comment.
BBC News is reporting that queues for security at Manchester Airport are currently easing to ‘less than an hour’. Manchester Airport has advised people keep security trays to a minimum, limit hand luggage, remove large electrical items from bags, and making sure liquids are 100ml or less and placing them in a clear, resealable bag, while in the queue to reduce delays.
Manchester Airport’s latest Tweet said: “As we continue to recover from the pandemic and passenger numbers grow, security queues may be longer than usual at times. If you’re due to travel in the next few weeks, please arrive at the earliest time your airline allows. We apologise to our customers for the disruption.”
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