Those hoping for cheap flights this summer will be left disappointed, as tickets today are around a third more expensive than pre-pandemic prices and things are not looking to change any time soon.
The bottom line: as long as flights are full, prices will remain high as the demand far outweighs the supply – especially during the summer. This is evident with low-budget airline Ryanair providing 19% more flights than in the same period in 2019, a trend seen across the board.
Ticket prices also exceed those of 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, aviation specialist Luk De Wilde told Het Laatste Nieuws. Similarly, aviation economist Wouter Dewulf stated that even price fighters Tui and Ryanair have significantly raised their prices.
Mass exodus to holiday destinations
Flights to European destinations are seeing a drastic increase."For next summer I already see price increases that easily exceed 20, 30 and even 40%. My perception: those who book now pay even 50% more — if the flight is not already fully booked." Dewulf said.
This has not escaped the notice of traditional airlines. Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and KLM have not seen business flights reach pre-pandemic levels yet, and are therefore deploying their available aircraft to holiday destinations. Low-budget or holiday airlines, such as Tui, have also noticed that everyone is flying to the same destinations.
Prices are also skyrocketing due to popularity for particular destinations, which airlines can measure by looking at the number of clicks on their websites. Additionally, despite the cost of living crisis, people are willing to pay more for their flights. As a result, airlines are reaching recovery levels much sooner than expected (it was predicted that they would only return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024).
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Despite flight interest being on the up, Dewulf stated that prices will most likely not return to what they once were. The aviation economist told Het Laatste Nieuws that there are multiple reasons for this: wage increases, maintenance costs, landing and navigation fees and fuel prices (which are not expected to decrease significantly any time soon).
However, Dewulf also stated that it seems as though the demand will start easing slightly, with aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus stating that their supply problems are slowly subsiding. This will hopefully help capacity and stop prices from surging, according to the economist.
Regardless, flying for extremely low prices (remember the €10 flights to Barcelona?) may be a thing of the past. There will still be the promo deals that low-cost airlines are known for, but these usually only apply to a few seats per flight.