High airfare is a global worry now. In the United States and around the world, travelers have been complaining for quite some about unusually high airfares almost on all routes. These are the times of summer vacation in schools in many parts of India, and also in courts. So, if you booked or attempted to book air tickets, you must have felt a bigger hole burning in your pocket.
Blame Covid-19: The pandemic forced the governments across the world to impose travel restrictions and opt for travel bubbles with highly regulated flight operations. Now, with the worst of Covid-19 seemingly over, restrictions are gone or in the days of force.
A travel burst: The international travel observers are saying that the demand for air travel is “off the charts” – even about 30% higher than the pre-pandemic levels. This is the pent up travel demands accumulated over the past two years. This is why internet searches show sky-high airfares for many routes.
Costlier fuel: The prices of Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) has been skyrocketing for several months, also due to the Russia-Ukraine war. ATF makes up about 40% of the operational cost for airlines. With lower ATF prices in pre-pandemic time, it formed 25-30% of the operational cost.
Fewer staff: The pandemic saw airlines reducing their fleet strength as well as the number of pilots, flight attendants, ground handlers and other aviation workers. Reports suggest that new hirings have begun but it takes time to put things in order for flight operation.
Repairing finances: Aviation sector, a capital-intensive business, runs on wafer-thin margins. Huge rush of travellers and an unusually high airfare are offering the airlines an opportunity to repair their balance sheets. This high-price situation, experts say, is likely to last a few more months globally.