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Monday,  May 20, 2024 9:27 AM 

Airfare prices fall 14% in January as demand softens: StatCan

  • Air
  •   02-21-2024  12:01 pm
  •   Pax Global Media

Airfare prices fall 14% in January as demand softens: StatCan
Pax Global Media

Travel is always a good idea.

It’s an even better idea when prices go down.  

According to Statistics Canada’s latest consumer price index report, prices for airfares dropped more than 14 per cent in January compared with the same month in 2023.

The cost of plane fares also dropped nearly 24 per cent between December and January as the holiday demand gave way to stay-at-home habits, the agency said.

READ MORE: Air travel recovery is continuing, but gov’ts must invest in clean fuel: IATA

But flying is still more expensive than it was in 2019, pre-pandemic. The price of a plane ticket remained 10 per cent above 2019 levels last month, reflecting aviation's higher costs and slightly lower capacity.

Last month’s fare decline follows a trend seen since April where prices have dropped compared to the same months one year earlier, including a 10 per cent drop in December and 17 per cent drop in November.

Competition is alive and well in Canadian aviation, however, as low-cost carriers (such as Lynx and Flair) take on regional routes that larger carriers once dominated. The two aforementioned airlines may soon become one, if recent reports are correct.  

Air Canada and WestJet, which now owns Sunwing, are also in a race to get customers on routes down south and to major U.S. cities. 

Canada Jetlines, meanwhile, is expanding its service, recently announcing plans to operate Orlando (and Toronto) flights out of Halifax

Close to pre-COVID times

Globally, air travel’s recovery continued in December 2023 as total traffic edged closer to matching pre-COVID demand, says the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Fourth quarter traffic last year was at 98.2 per cent of 2019, reflecting the strong recovery towards the end of the year, IATA says.

Worldwide, IATA says air traffic last year reached 94.1 per cent of pre-pandemic (2019) levels.

December 2023 traffic in North America, notably, rose 13.5 per cent compared to the year-ago period.

“The strong post-pandemic rebound continued in 2023. December traffic stood just 2.5 per cent below 2019 levels, with a strong performance in quarter four, teeing-up airlines for a return to normal growth patterns in 2024,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, in a statement in January.

“The recovery in travel is good news. The restoration of connectivity is powering the global economy as people travel to do business, further their educations, take hard-earned vacations and much more.”

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