Celebrity Cruises considering chartering flights to combat airlift challenges

Celebrity Cruises is considering chartering flights for the 2024 and 2025 summer seasons as agents continue to find it “tough” to source airlift for customers booking fly-cruises, according to managing director Giles Hawke.

In an interview with Travel Weekly, Hawke, who is also vice-president EMEA, said that while sales to the Mediterranean are higher than they were this time last year or in 2019, they are still below where he would like them to be, which he attributed in part to a lack of airlift.

Although no concrete deals have yet been signed, Hawke said chartering flights for the 2024 and 2025 seasons is a “possibility” for the cruise line, as he wants to make it “as easy as possible for agents to get customers to our ships”.

“The availability of flying is coming back for 2024 and our anticipation is there will be more flights available in 2025, however, we are in the process of looking at the possibility of chartering or taking on a bigger airlift commitment,” said Hawke.

“We haven’t got any charters for 2024 or 2025 currently in place, but it is something we are considering based on feedback from some of our travel partners who have told us that flights are still quite hard to get, particularly out of Scotland.

“We need to help agents get customers to where our ships are so we are looking at what opportunities are out there to do that.

“Sales to the Caribbean, Alaska and Asia are looking really good, but the Mediterranean needs more support which is why we’re looking at flight opportunities.”

He added: “As we come into the wave period, we’re going to see if there’s more we can do to make selling the Mediterranean an exciting proposition for our customers to buy and agents to sell.

“Our Mediterranean sales are still ahead of where were were last year for 2023 and ahead of 2019, but we’re always looking for more and we want to be driving them harder.”

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