Europe’s largest tour operator Tui will concentrate on “essential and strategic” airline routes following the pandemic.
Tui’s chief executive Fritz Joussen said there was likely to be “aircraft overcapacity” as the industry emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have used the crisis to massively scale down our aviation capacity,” said Joussen during an interview at the ITB Berlin virtual event.
“We should serve the essential and strategic routes but not all the routes available. We can purchase air capacity in the market.”
Joussen said airline capacity would be affected by the likely slow recovery in business travel, which is forecast to take much longer to pick up than the leisure market.
“A lot of business travel capacity will focus on leisure and overcapacity will be everywhere,” he added.
Soren Hartmann, chief executive of Kuoni parent company Der Touristik Group, agreed that lower levels of business travel would lead to overcapacity in the leisure market.
“Business travel will shrink in the future and this will bring the whole market into overcapacity – there will be insolvencies in the airline industry,” said Hartmann.
Hartmann added the industry would have to look at developing a new financial model post-Covid as he predicted that consumers would want to make “more short-term bookings” rather than booking a long way in advance.
He also said there was likely to be more demand over the next 18 months for “earthbound products” where people can use their own cars, as well as staying in their home countries and booking self-catering apartments.