Airline ticket prices are soaring with almost 30%
Air ticket prices in Belgium have risen by almost 30% since 2010. That is nearly twice as much as the 15,6% increase in total accumulated inflation or general price increase. The figures are taken from a report by the Price Observatory of the Federal Public Service Economy that has been released on Thursday.
Flights to European destinations, in particular, have become more expensive in recent years. Far-away air travel, on the other hand, fell in price. Anyway, all the climate concerns don’t stop us from flying: we take the plane more often than ever, whether for short or long trips and so tickets become more expensive.
4,6 billion air passengers
The price increase goes hand in hand with an increase in the number of people taking the plane. In Belgium, the number of air passengers increased by 50% between 2010 and 2018. In 2010, for example, the airports in Belgium had a total of 23.044.363 departing and arriving passengers. Last year, there were already 34.572.735 departing and arriving passengers.
Globally, the increase was even 62%. Last year, there were 4,4 billion air passengers worldwide, an increase of 6,9% or 284 million passengers compared to 2017. According to Statista, it is expected that 2019 will set a new record in terms of the number of scheduled passengers with almost 4,6 billion, around 130% more than in 2004.
In 2018, 1,1 billion people took a plane in Europe. Asians fly much more: 1,6 billion passengers last year. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the busiest destinations are in that part of the world. The absolute top line is the Seoul Gimpo-Jeju line, an island known as South Korea’s Hawaii. It is an hour’s flight from the mainland, and there are 110 daily flights to and from Jeju.
Belgium is not included in the international list of popular destinations of IATA, the International Air Transport Association, But according to Brussels Airport, the most popular destinations from our country are Spain (Madrid) and the Canary Islands, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain, as far as Europe is concerned. Outside Europe, we mainly fly to the US, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates.
More low-cost flights
The increase in the number of passengers is partly due to the rise in the number of low-cost flights. In 2005, there were only 13,7% cheap flights. In 2017 this had risen to 31,7%. Analysis also shows that the trips in the holiday months July and August are on average 20% more expensive than those in the rest of the year.
And the more demand for seats, the more expensive they become. In the Netherlands, the increase was even higher (+38,4%). In Germany, the increase was less pronounced (+21,4%). And in France, air tickets remained at the same level (-0,1%).
Nevertheless, transport economist Eddy Van de Voorde (University of Antwerp) has reservations about the figures of the FPS Economy because they are based on posted prices and not on actual statistics. “It is certainly not the case that airlines are now making more profit. These more expensive ticket prices serve, among other things, to pay all kinds of environmental taxes.”
Impact on CO2 emissions
It is also striking that we are flying more, at a time when there is a lively debate on air ticket prices and kerosene tax in the fight against climate change. After all, the increase in air traffic has a significant impact on CO2 emissions. In 2016, aviation accounted for 3,6% of the European Union’s total greenhouse gas emissions and 13,4 of the transport sector’s emissions.
On the other hand, the impact of emission trading systems – for example, to compensate for CO2 emissions, air pollution, and noise – on the prices of airline tickets is still somewhat limited. One of the reasons for this is that 82% of emission rights for aviation are free.