Airlines slash fares to lowest level in 20 years

A price war has erupted today as major airlines have slashed fares by up to 25 per cent to stoke demand in the post-Christmas slump.
With price levels not since the Eighties over 20 years, leading carriers including British Airways
and Virgin Atlantic have unveiled New Year sales.BA’s sale on 75 destinations include return flights to New York down to £259 and Miami £309.
Virgin Atlantic has retaliated by offering rival routes for £1 less than BA by £1 including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Return tickets to India have been cut hugely following last month’s terror attacks in Mumbai. BA has reduced prices to Mumbai by £91 to £329, Delhi by £121 to £359, and Calcutta by £71 to £359.
Richard Tams of BA said: “There are real bargains to be had thanks to the combination of our New Year sale and the reduction in the fuel surcharge. We know from research that customers still rate their annual holiday as extremely important even in these difficult economic times, but obviously they want to make the absolute most of their money and this is a great time for them to do just that.”
Lufthansa and Emirates are among the other heavyweights offering heavily discounted fares. Return flights to Dubai are down 20 per cent to £326 from Gatwick, as are flights to Bangkok (£496), Beijing (£390) and Hong Kong (£412).
IATA says 2009 will be a bleak year for the aviation industry, which it predicts could lose US$2.5bn, the worst revenue environment in 50 years, with all regions, except the US, to report larger losses in 2009 than in 2008.

Industry revenues are expected to decline to US$501 billion. This is a fall of US$35bn from the US$536bn in revenues forecast for 2008. This drop in revenues is the first since the two consecutive years of decline in 2001 and 2002.