The price of airfare has dropped over the past year as carriers added capacity, and while travellers reconsidered their plans amid the rising cost of living, new data from Statistics Canada shows.
In a consumer price index (CPI) released on Tuesday (Nov. 21), the agency said the price of air transportation dropped 19.4 per cent last month compared with October 2022.
The figure follows a roughly 21 per cent year-over-year drop in September and a 20 per cent decrease in August, after last year’s post-COVID spike in demand last year outpaced airlines’ capacity to meet it, resulting in higher fares.
Airfare prices also declined four per cent on a monthly basis in October, which is when prices usually get higher ahead of the holiday season, the data shows.
The travel industry has roared back this year, with seat capacity among major Canadian carriers at 92 per cent of 2019 levels, according to aviation data firm Cirium.
But prices are cooling – a trend that WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech acknowledged last month during a speaking engagement held at the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
Air tickets, in general, are not rising in price, von Hoensbroech said during a fireside chat with Giles Gherson, president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
“Domestic flying in Canada is actually cheaper than was pre-pandemic,” the CEO told the audience.
von Hoensbroech pointed to rising competition in the market.
“There are lots and lots of other airlines in the market and this is naturally bringing down ticket prices,” he said. “As to how sustainable this will be is to be seen.”