Sad news – maddening news
It would appear we are losing the summer weekly Thomas Cook Manchester-Barbados flight from early May 2015. Perhaps there is sufficient surplus capacity on the Virgin Atlantic Monday flights, but Thomas Cook provided a lower cost option for many and while we are lacking in empirical evidence, my guess is that this flight was used by many people who have a second home on Barbados and/or who stay in our lower priced accommodation options.
While Virgin currently retains their larger once-a-week Boeing 747 on the Manchester service during the low season, it may not prove a challenge at all.
But if Virgin decides to change equipment to the smaller A330 as they did from Gatwick, clearly less capacity and more demand will lead to the inevitable higher air fares and deter the more budget conscious holidaymaker who largely keeps the industry afloat during the eight long summer months.
For travel in April 2015, a return flight from Manchester with Thomas Cook is presently available at GBPounds 376. With Virgin the cost is GBPounds 638 over a similar period. In fairness luggage and meals are ‘extras’ with Thomas Cook, but there is still a huge price differential – particularly if a family of four are considering travelling.
What is also a little puzzling was our tourism policymakers had already indicated that there was going to be a special effort in growing the markets out of the North of England and Scotland.
And especially after the July long Barbados Summerfastic tour by a beautiful liveried bus in partnership with Capital FM which visited several northern cities and Scotland.
I totally agree there is tremendous further potential, but you also have to look at the demographics which should take into account average disposal income and affordable access to the airport serving the destination.
Unemployment is at its highest in England’s North East and North West with average weekly earnings considerably lower than the south of the country. Clearly the cost is often the ultimate deciding factor.
And now I make no apologies in returning to a pet-peeve subject, websites which are not kept current…