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Facing travel restrictions, airlines turn to new ways to make money

09/09/2020| 10:53:18 PM| 中文

From business class pyjamas to home-delivered inflight meals, airlines are getting creative in keeping a little cash flowing.

When it comes to raising money, nothing is off limits for airlines mired in their worst-ever crisis. From fresh vegetables to peanuts and pajamas, they’re selling almost anything to make it through the pandemic.

Even airlines that received government bailouts and slashed costs are looking for new revenue streams as they burn through cash while fleets are largely grounded and people stay at home. A recovery is expected to take years and cost carriers billions of dollars more.

Here’s a look at what airlines are pedaling as they try to make up for the hit from Covid-19:

Fly over Antarctica

With its international fleet grounded until at least mid-2021, Qantas is renting out one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners for sightseeing trips over the southern ice cap.

Qantas will also salvage and sell off memorabilia from its Boeing 747s which were retired early due to the crisis.

Flights to nowhere

Japan’s ANA sold tickets for a charter flight to nowhere. About 300 passengers paid for a so-called 'Hawaiian resort experience' on an Airbus A380 that typically flies the Tokyo-Honolulu route. The passengers were picked through a lottery.

Crew wore masks and Hawaiian shirts and served cocktails during the 90-minute trip.

Fruit & veg delivery

Low-cost travel pioneer AirAsia Group, which posted a record loss last month, started an Amazon.com-style platform selling fresh fruit and vegetables.

All-you-can-fly deals

Faced with a slump in demand, airlines in China started offering unlimited flight packages to lure customers back onto domestic routes.

Among them, China Eastern Airlines, one of the nation’s “Big 3” carriers, in June advertised unlimited weekend flights for the rest of the year for a single fee of 3,322 yuan (US$487).

More than 150,000 people used the pass over just two weekends, the airline said. On some flights, they accounted for more than 90% of the passengers.

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TAGS: Qantas | inflight meal | ANA | unlimited flight | China Eastern Airlines
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