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13 June, 2024
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European airfares hit 20-30% increase from 2019 to 2023

Higher prices, same destination: European summer flights cost more

Andreas Karamitas

Throughout the summer of 2023, air travel across Europe witnessed a significant uptick in prices, with fares soaring 20 to 30% higher compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to recent data from the EU released in October.

As the Easter holidays and summer vacation season approach, airlines and travel agencies are experiencing a surge in demand for flight tickets. However, the escalating costs of air travel have become a growing concern for travelers worldwide, prompting governments and businesses to take notice.

From the challenge of securing affordable tickets to the broader implications on tourism and the economy, the rising prices of airfare are raising alarms across the board. Consumers are deploying various tactics to navigate these soaring costs, including strategic timing for ticket purchases. The dynamic nature of airfare pricing is evident in the fluctuating rates observed from February until today. For example, a return trip from Larnaca to Athens during the Easter holidays saw prices fluctuate from 140 euros 60 days prior to the trip to as high as 337 euros closer to the departure date.

Even budget carriers, which have traditionally offered cheaper alternatives, are not immune to the trend. Cypriot travelers have noted higher ticket prices compared to the previous year, attributing the increase to factors such as geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruptions, and rising fuel costs. Additional charges, including route-specific administrative fees, further contribute to the overall cost, prompting travelers to weigh the potential inconveniences against the savings.

Despite the convenience of online booking platforms, many Cypriots still prefer the personalized service offered by travel agents. Bulk bookings often translate to better prices, while the assurance of assistance throughout the journey provides peace of mind for travelers.

A multitude of factors is driving the surge in airfare prices, including heightened post-pandemic demand, operational challenges, and government-imposed taxes and fees. Furthermore, limited competition on certain routes exacerbates the situation, with Cyprus facing unique challenges due to its geographic isolation.

Consumer advocates raise ethical concerns regarding dynamic pricing strategies, emphasizing the need for fair and transparent practices in the industry. The absence of regulatory oversight further compounds consumer worries, underscoring the importance of government intervention to safeguard consumer interests.

Transport Commissioner Adina Valean acknowledges the potential barriers to travel posed by escalating prices and emphasizes the importance of ongoing dialogue with industry stakeholders. In Cyprus, calls for government intervention to address market imbalances and protect consumers remain paramount.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  airlines  |  economy

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