This second part examines a means of stimulating inter-island tourism. Below we can see the load factors on the inter-island routes for 2013, also showing the maximum and minimum load factors recorded by month.
Clearly, within a month and on a particular day, some flights will be busier than others but overall, it is evident that there is spare capacity to carry extra traffic. What the statistics do not provide is how many passengers are resident of the Canary Islands (a very easy statistic to obtain as these passengers will be travelling on a 50% discount.
By law, any fares that are offered need to be also available to local residents and the airline is unable to segment the market as it would like. To give an example of this problem, we can look at cross Channel ferries between England and France. There, the operators can offer a single price for a car and up to X passengers but in the Canaries, group fares are not possible, since some members of the group may be residents. So, it is necessary to develop a tariff which is attractive to tourists but would not be of much use to residents.
Let’s assume that a tourist based in Gran Canaria wishes to visit two islands, Tenerife and Fuerteventura. If he or she wishes to travel in February, our tourist will see the following prices (including all fees and taxes):
Prices checked on November 17th 2013
These fares come to €155 per person and so €310 for a couple or €620 for a family of four. These fares are hardly likely to encourage island-hopping! So, instead, the airline could offer a “precio triangular” for €99 per person. The fare could be limited to those flights which have capacity and the fare could be valid for 7 days.
Interestingly, the ferries are starting to adopt more innovative pricing. For example, Fred Olsen offers a “land bridge” fare between Lanzarote and Gran Canaria via Fuerteventura (driving between Corralejo in the north and Morro Jable in the south) which is cheaper than the two separate Lanzarote-Fuerteventura and Fuerteventura-Gran Canaria fares. This is all well and good for residents, but tourists will have less time available, so the airlines need to get their act together and innovate.