Too few planes, staff shortages and expensive kerosene: the days of cheap flights are over for the time being. In view of the sharp rise in production costs and permanent corona problems, travelers will probably have to prepare for higher ticket prices for years. Even the Irish price-breaker Ryanair wants to raise prices in view of the expensive fuel.
During the autumn holidays in particular, many consumers sense that a number of things have changed in the European sky. 750 euros for a trip to Cyprus or 200 euros for a one-way ticket to Germany's favorite destination Mallorca are not uncommon these days and far from the marketing hit of the 10-euro ticket. Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary sees no more leeway for such ridiculous prices in the coming years. Instead, Europe's largest low-cost airline announced via a BBC interview that the average ticket price would increase by 25 percent to around 50 euros per route.
The comparison portal Check24 comes up with significantly higher average prices for the period of the German autumn school holidays from October 4th to November 6th. For example, a return flight to the Canary Islands costs an average of 464 euros, which is 21 percent more than a year earlier and even 30 percent more than in the same period before the Corona crisis. Sun-seekers have to pay 385 euros for a trip to the Turkish Riviera. That is 27 percent more than in the same period of the previous year, outward and return flights to Bodrum on the Turkish Aegean have even become 44 percent more expensive within a year.
The credit insurer Allianz Trade sees the sharp rise in kerosene costs since the Russian attack on Ukraine as the main reason for the high price phase. For the year as a whole, Allianz is expecting far above-average ticket price increases of 21 percent. In view of the fuel prices, the airlines currently have little incentive to increase their workforce, which was severely reduced during the crisis.
"Supply is still lagging behind demand," says Gerald Wissel of the consulting firm Airborne. "Partly for organizational reasons, the airlines are not able to get all the planes back in the air. However, due to the uncertainties surrounding Corona, they are also traveling with the handbrake on. That is very difficult to estimate."
Up to and including August, almost 105 million passengers used German airports, which is still a good third (-36.5 percent) short of the pre-crisis level of 2019. According to the airport association ADV, however, demand has increased significantly since March and reached 74.8 percent in August compared to August 2019.
According to data from the Federal Statistical Office, ticket prices in the travel month of August rose by up to 12.5 percent on average compared to the same month last year. Compared to the pre-crisis month of August 2019, flights were more than 20 percent more expensive.
"The desire to purchase our product is so strong that we can't keep up with production," said Spohr a few days ago. And even the upcoming recession can be countered by selling a larger proportion of tickets in the USA. "We're gaining market share there and selling at prices that we don't otherwise know," reported the Lufthansa boss.
Expert Wissel points to the pricing power of the airlines. "Especially on monopoly routes, the companies use their advantage as long as the competition plays along." Within Germany, it is above all the railways that can set limits on Lufthansa ticket prices. If the tracks are expanded accordingly, this can also be expected in the European network, say the Allianz experts.
Antje Monshausen from Tourism Watch at Bread for the World points to climate-friendly alternatives in Europe, especially rail and bus transport. Rising kerosene prices could contribute to the necessary traffic turnaround. "If air traffic subsidies are also used to improve and expand rail traffic, the turnaround in traffic is possible without restricting people's mobility needs too much."
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