Air fares to Eastern Europe fall as travelers stay away Business News

As the repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine widen, budget airlines have cut fares to Poland, Slovakia and the Baltic republics to just a few pounds.

While some reports have accused airlines of raising fares to exploit increased demand for refugees seeking to reach Western Europe from states bordering Ukraine such as Poland, Slovakia and Romania, research conducted by The Independent suggests that the opposite is happening.

Airfares between the UK and former Eastern Bloc countries are very low and falling – with Ryanair halving the cost of a three-hour flight from Tallinn in Estonia in April overnight , dropping from over £40 to under £20.

Prices are so low that in many cases a traveler would spend more on a train to the airport than on a flight of several hundred miles to their destination.

Demand appears to have collapsed on a number of routes to destinations close to Ukraine’s borders.

Flights on Friday March 11, normally a busy day, on the route between Manchester and Krakow have fallen to £25 on Ryanair and £27 on Jet2.

The next day, Ryanair charges just £12.99, less than the amount of air passenger tax the airline has to pay for each passenger.

In the opposite direction, fares are just as low: for Sunday March 13 from Krakow to Manchester, Jet2 charges £37, easyJet £25 and Ryanair £10.

Elsewhere, airline and Leeds-based holiday company Jet2 is suspending flights to Poland in two weeks, for at least two months.

The firm said ITV News“Due to the current circumstances, we have taken the decision to suspend our flights and city break programs to Krakow from March 24 to May 26 inclusive.

“When customers are affected by program changes, we will automatically cancel their reservation with a full refund.

“We are planning a gradual restart in Krakow from May 27 and will of course keep customers informed.”

Passengers are offered a full refund.

Many other UK airports offer cheap flights to and from Eastern Europe, even at weekends when fares are normally high.

During the first weekend of April, flying on Friday and returning on Sunday, a combination of Ryanair from Liverpool to Krakow and an easyJet from the Polish city costs £41.

Wizz Air, based in Hungary and having a dense network between the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe, seems particularly affected.

It offers a choice of London airports for traveling to Bucharest from April 1-3: from Luton Airport the fare is £41 return, while from Gatwick the Romanian capital is available for £52.

Ryanair charges £52 return from Stansted to Budapest.

The Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia do not border Ukraine but each have a border with Russia.

Between Luton and Palanga – on the Lithuanian coast near the Latvian border – the Wizz Air fare on Monday March 28 is just £7, with incoming seats selling for around £7.50. The train/bus combination from London to Luton Airport costs £19 one way, almost three times as much.

Europe’s biggest low-cost airline, Ryanair, is offering fares from Stansted to the Latvian capital, Riga, for just £13 on Saturday March 12, the same for the return on the following Wednesday or Friday.

The train from London Liverpool Street to Essex Airport costs £32.70 return, 25% more than the return cost of over 2,000 miles.

Neil Taylor, author of Bradt guide in Estonia, said: “It’s a sad commentary on geographical knowledge in the UK that bookings have dropped somewhat to destinations in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, hundreds of miles from the bombings in Ukraine.

“These countries are granting asylum to thousands of refugees and playing a crucial role in getting supplies to Ukraine. We must show them our gratitude by continuing to support their tourism industries. »

All prices were researched directly from the airlines on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 9.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-09 15:45:58

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