Economy flights cheaper than 25 years ago
June 29th, 2011 by elisa

A study commissioned by the comparison website Kelkoo and conducted by RDC Aviation shows that economy fares are 35% cheaper than 25 years ago. The average price of an average economy flight ticket has fallen from £524 in 1985 to just £338 today. However, the study also found that business class fares have risen by 120% and first class tickets by 54%.

The study looked at fares between 1985 and 2010 for the 30 most popular long haul routes from the UK served throughout the entire period. To make it comparable all historic flight prices were converted into today’s prices taking into account annual inflation.

A business class flight to South Africa today is 394%  more expensive than in 1985, where a passenger would have paid £634 in today’s money, making this one of the most significant uplifts.

Kelkoo Travel MD Chris Nixon said: “Airline ticket prices have gone through a number of changes over the last 25 years of commercial air travel.

“This is due to factors such as increased competition between airlines and the introduction of internet booking sites in early 1990s.

“The comparative rise in the cost of business and first class travel could be seen to support airlines’ ability to reduce their economy ticket prices. It’s one of the reasons we don’t see many long haul budget carriers as revenue from first and business class seats is needed in order to offer passengers a good deal on economy tickets.

“However, with the airline industry at the mercy of soaring fuel costs and the economic implications of natural disasters such as the recent volcanic eruptions, air fares are always going to be subject to price fluctuations that are not always favourable to passengers’ pockets.”


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