[IMG=20334-6096] Following the reduction of retail prices for Moscow – Paris - Moscow flights to $209 by Air France (news/22.06), at the beginning of July Aeroflot put on sale tickets at rates equal to ones offered by Air France. Minimum Aeroflot tariffs are valid for all Moscow-Paris-Moscow flights (economy-class) operated until August 31st. You may recall from earlier News Bulletins that initially the Russian national Airline planned to negotiate the return to the status quo on the destination. However, apparently, the desired result was not effected. Therefore, the Russian Airline had to take response action – to reduce prices radically.
As both airlines made the same maneuvre, previous forecasts regarding outflow of Aeroflot passengers to Air France will hardly appear to be true. However, at the moment retail prices of Aeroflot are lower than block prices, that, according to some travel market analytics, affect the interests of tour operators which have blocks of seats on Aeroflot flights.
Meanwhile, tour operators themselves are not concerned about the current situation. Thus, Victoria Zhenchevskaya, Director of DSBW-Tours-Continent, one of companies that take blocks on Aeroflot flights, commented on the situation as follows: ‘Aeroflot sell tickets at reduced price only for vacant seats. In order to buy cheap tickets it is necessary to book them well in advance before a flight. Besides, a number of such tickets is limited. Therefore, at the last moment they are rarely confirmed’.
Travel market experts believe that high demand for the destination and, consequently, for flights to Paris, leave practically no chance to book tickets at the low rate offered by Aeroflot.
For example, Boris Blinov, Director of Altus Travel Company, said: ‘sometimes we book tickets from blocks and I know for sure that minimum number of retail tickets is left for convenient dates – flights on Saturdays and Sundays. Anyway, no travel company will be able to form a group package upon an individual tariff, therefore, a serious war of tariffs is not expected’.
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