Air fares rose 10% last year despite fall in cost of jet fuel

The price of jet fuel through 2023 was 20% lower on average than in 2022, but air fares rose by an average 10% in real terms, higher than the rate of inflation.

Eurocontrol attributed this to “significant growth in demand and traffic” and noted prices fell back in November below the level of November 2022.

The total CO2 emissions from flights rose 12% year on year but remained 6% below the 2019 level, although air traffic was down by more on 2019.

Eurocontrol also records the Excess Fuel Burn, which measures fuel wasted due to delays, re-routings and holding patterns.

This varied between 8% and 12.6% over the year but was close to 11% a day from May to October, rising to 12% in December due to severe weather.

Mainline airlines, or legacy carriers, such as British Airways retained the biggest share of the European market at 35% but remained 11% down on 2019.

Eurocontrol suggested most of the shortfall was “due to the weakness of domestic markets” in Germany, France and Scandinavia. These are markets where there is growing pressure not to fly when alternative forms of transport are available.

Low-cost carriers took a 33% share, with traffic just 4% below the 2019 level.

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