In July 2022, the increase in the price of plane tickets departing from France reached 43.5% for all destinations compared to a year ago, according to the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC). This corresponds to an increase of 37.7% compared to 2019, before the pandemic. This increase even reached 54.5% on intra-European routes, compared to 28.8% on international long-haul routes. For a one-way Paris-Rio ticket at the beginning of September, it is now necessary to count between €700 and €800 depending on the companies. And from €100 to €400 for a Paris-London trip.
“Tourism has skyrocketed”
“ The cause is extremely simple. We thought in February that tourist activity would resume, it literally exploded summarizes Loïc Tribot La Spière, economist specializing in air transport, director of CEPS (Centre for Strategic and Prospective Studies).
According to figures from the Eurocontrol organization, during the week of August 15 to 21, 2022, French airports registered around 4,200 flights on their ground each day. This is a lower value by only 10% than it had before the health crisis. Attendance at the two main Paris airports, Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and Paris-Orly, in July returned to 86.3% of the July 2019 level, or 9.1 million passengers.
“ We are at 90% of the number of places for sale compared to 2019, the reference year before Covid. The demand is there. Some destinations are at 100% capacity compared to 2019, such as southern Europe “, Communicates a spokesman for Air-France.
Faced with this demand, the airlines intend to take advantage of it to “ restore your accounts and increase your margins “, specifies Bruno Gazeau, president of the National Federation of Associations of Transport Users (Fnaut). Air France recognizes it. “ Airline ticket prices are set according to supply and demand “, justifies the French airline.
This increase in demand has also meant an increase in costs as it was necessary to find staff, especially at airports and airlines. “ We were at a post-Covid level of workforce with as few staff as possible. Air transport companies were baffled and were forced to hire new employees with extreme immediacy”, specifies Loïc Tribot La Spire. Some airlines have also granted salary increases in the same period, such as Lufthansa or EasyJet after several strikes. Demonstrations have also been taking place at Ryanair for almost two months.
Increased cost of kerosene
The companies also highlight the rebound in the first half of 2022 in oil prices, and therefore kerosene. “ In mid-2021, fuel represented 15% of our costs compared to 29% in the first half of 2022 “, assures Air France. Its low-cost subsidiary Transavia confirms: “ Our prices must cover our cost base, which has been inflated for a year, especially fuel.. »
Loïc Tribot La Spière also specifies: “ In certain services, it was necessary to extend the distances to avoid Russia and Ukraine, which can no longer be flown over. So there are more kerosene costs if you want to go to Korea or Japan.. »
But for the specialist, a responsible company always makes sure. Normally, your insurance coverage allows you to avoid this price dumping. The real problem is not the cost of kerosene. What we could not anticipate was the resumption of tourism at this point. Keep in mind that the most profitable part for airlines is usually the summer period. »
This pre-contracted insurance system aims to obtain, for future periods, a kerosene price lower than the market price. Some companies remain better insured than others against the cost of oil. This is particularly the case with the Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair or EasyJet. “ Our coverage puts us in a better position than many of our competitors. This gives us a good level of price certainty, while also allowing us some flexibility if fuel prices continue to fall.”the company says.
Towards lower prices at the beginning of the school year?
The price of a barrel of oil, which has so far risen sharply since March 2022, has been falling since June. The barrel of oil cost 128 dollars at the beginning of March, it was worth 96 dollars on Monday, August 22.
The ticket price should probably drop again at the beginning of the school year. Especially from “ the planes will have to be well filled», explains Loïc Tribot La Spire. “ From now on, discussions between companies are established by zoom. The profitability pole of the airlines is in general the executive class, which has not been resumed since the Covid”. But on the part of Ryanair, however, it was announced at the beginning of August that the era of plane tickets sold at €10, in any case, is over.
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