The cost of airfare has skyrocketed, due to a few factors. These include increased fuel prices and the sheer number of travelers moving around the world these days. It will take innovative new technologies to make travel cheaper in future years.

The “why are flights so expensive right now 2022” is a question that many people have been asking. The prices have gone up over the past few years and there are no signs of stopping.

Why Airfares Have Gotten So High

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Why Are Airfares So Expensive?

on May 12, 2022 by Gary Leff

The explanations most commentators provide for current high airfares are often incorrect. Why have costs climbed so much while travel hasn’t yet recovered to 2019 levels? Fuel costs may restrict which flights are profitable, but they aren’t the only restraint on supply right now. It isn’t only that airlines want to recoup the money they lost during the epidemic.

Instead, it’s something far more sinister.

  • “Travel is returning,” but it isn’t at 2019 levels, and high-fare travel (business travel) isn’t totally recovered. So this doesn’t explain the nominal price level of airfares, however it’s worth noting that inflation-adjustment may make sense and actual costs may not have shifted as much as you believe.
  • “Fuel costs are high,” but that isn’t the only explanation. Because of rising gasoline costs, airlines do not opt to raise their pricing. Instead, they restrict capacity. Marginal routes and flights do not operate because they are not profitable at their higher operating costs. As a result, consumers do not get those marginal seats that are sold at a lower price; only the higher-cost seats bought by passengers ready to pay more fly.
  • “They’re attempting to recoup the money they lost during the epidemic,” but airlines and hotels sought to earn money before the pandemic as well, and if pricing were driven by incentive, we would have seen higher rates sooner. This is a ridiculous justification for today’s prices.

Fuel prices are cited as a cause for rising airfares, yet hotel rates are also rising, and although oil prices do affect hotels (due to their energy expenses), no one would claim that this is the case.

Instead, supply and demand determine pricing.

  1. Demand has essentially rebounded (albeit not in all categories or sectors — more leisure, less business, and more evenly distributed across days). And
  2. Supply hasn’t rebounded in the same manner (fuel helps, but isn’t the current supply limitation).

Consider how numerous airlines are reducing their timetables due to their inability to operate consistently. Airlines want to fly more, especially at present fuel rates, but they don’t have the personnel to do it. JetBlue just announced a 10% reduction in their summer schedule.

Airlines lack the aircraft and personnel that existed before to the epidemic. Taxpayers provided approximately $50 billion in direct payments to airlines, as well as half that amount in subsidized loans, while airlines benefitted from lower taxes and payments to contractors and airports. And it was marketed as a way to keep airline employees employed so that they would be ready to fly when customers returned. That did not occur. Airlines were laying off workers everywhere they could. For example,

One of the key factors contributing to current air travel unreliability is a lack of workers to run the planes.

American also failed to maintain its pilots trained and ready, which contributed to their operational unreliability last summer. American didn’t have enough pilots to run its scheduled flights (in the fall they lacked the flight attendants, too). One of the reasons the present timetable is less ambitious than it would have been if we hadn’t learnt that lesson.

Meanwhile, American’s Airbus A330, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, and Embraer E-190 fleets were all retired. This limited the number of tickets they could sell (though American squeezed more seats into 737s and Airbus A321s). Delta is retiring Boeing 777s and older fleet segments.

Cirium’s Diio Mi data indicates that

  • In June 2022, scheduled airline departures inside the Continental United States are down 13% from June 2019. That’s a monthly reduction of approximately 90,000 flights.
  • The number of scheduled seats on certain flights has decreased by 6%. This equates to around 5 million fewer seats every month.

Airlines have not been able to restore capacity to pre-pandemic levels due to a lack of staff and aircraft. Right now, this is a stronger driver of decreasing supply than gasoline costs.

Expect increased pricing now that travel is virtually back to where it was before the epidemic (restored demand) and fewer tickets are available (restricted supply). Adjust for inflation to reduce sticker shock (with the proviso that inflation may have slowed somewhat).

More From the Wing’s Perspective

The “why are flights so expensive april 2022” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to the question is that the reason for the price increase is because of the high demand for air travel.

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