Air travel costs coming down to earth


The cost of flying, particularly at the front of the plane, is getting cheaper in part down to the easing of revenge leisure travel, international capacity making a return, and airlines turning their focus to meeting the shifting demand of its customers.

The FCM Consulting’s latest Global Quarterly Trend Report showed that on average globally, ticket prices in economy were 11 per cent above the same month in 2019 prior to the pandemic. But encouragingly, flight costs in the same class had dropped 16 per cent when compared to January 2021.

Felicity Burke, APAC director of FCM Consulting, said that pricing for travel remained strong as demand incrementally grows in 2024.

“Global inflation is estimated to be at 5.9 per cent in 2024, unemployment rates are trending lower, and consumer confidence is returning once again,” she said.

“Generally, the global economy has been resilient against increases in interest rates, and with the economic outlook being somewhat positive for the remaining year, corporate budgets are increasing with confidence and enabling steady business travel trends.

“Pricing will remain strong in most locations as demand grows throughout the year, but it needs to be kept in mind that several geopolitical conflicts will continue to bring a level of uncertainty to the global economy.”

The report highlighted that stable booking volumes in the first quarter of 2024 meant that corporate travel demand remained steady and the broader travel industry could now rely on consistent volumes.

“Travellers continue to tightly manage budgets for the remainder of the year with early bookings and more days away,” Burke said.

“The average advanced booking days have increased to 23.3 and the average days away have also lifted to 4.4 – unsurprising, given the continued business ‘bleisure’ trend.

“Monthly seats offered from May to December 2024 have been forecasted to an average of 3.6 per cent above 2019 monthly averages, with 2024 scheduling continuing to signal supply confidence across five of the seven global regions.

“The forecast for seats offered across top corporate global airlines in 2024 is set to be six per cent above 2019, with the number of flights offered down one per cent – top corporate airlines globally show that low-cost carriers (LCC) are also performing well.

“Interestingly, LCCs will represent 31 per cent of global seats offered in 2024. That is a one per cent increase versus 2019, with 28 per cent of all flights offered also being on an LCC carrier, again a rise of one per cent.”