The airline business has never been been geared toward executives afraid of a fight. But airline fare wars that loom coming out of the pandemic could be in a category all their own. Will Southwest's infrastructure and operating mode put it in a better position than others?
Southwest Airlines Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly said on Friday he expects a “brutal low-fare” environment when traffic returns after coronavirus-induced restrictions ease.
“There are far more airplane seats right now, and there will be for some time, than there are customers,” he said in a video message.
“Our low-cost philosophy, strategy and structure will serve us very well.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought air travel to a virtual halt, leading to an unprecedented number of flight cancellations globally and resulting in airlines booking hefty losses.
Airlines have been operating about 90% fewer flights than normal but they are gradually adding flights back to their schedules as demand is starting to pick up. (Reporting by C Nivedita and Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)
Photo credit: Southwest Airlines aircraft cleaning process features an electrostatic sprayer system. The airline expects a fare war when the coronavirus-recovery kicks in. Southwest Airlines