Airfare rises ‘restrained’ in 2019 due to budget carriers

Fare levels should remain stable on many of the world’s major air routes in 2019, according to a new forecast.

Capacity and growing competition, including new low-cost carriers on long-haul routes, will likely restrain fare rises to key destinations from Europe and Asia-Pacific.

But American Express Global Business Travel warned that current economic and political uncertainties and developments may affect its Air Monitor 2019 forecast.

The main predictions include:

• Pressures such as growing competition from low-cost carriers on long-haul routes are stabilising costs in 2019
• Current global and political uncertainties are expected to have an impact
• Travellers will have to contend with increased fare segmentation as airlines try to keep pace with demand for premium travel experiences after the rapid growth of no-frills fares
• Airfares at a global level will remain stable, but at a UK and European level fares will fluctuate dependent on routes

However, demand growth in premium classes across North America is forecast to outstrip capacity growth, meaning buyers could see “significant” price rises on these fares within the region and to Europe.

In contrast, fares to Middle East destinations are forecast to fall from all regions, in both business and economy classes, mainly due to overcapacity.

American Express GBT business development vice president Joakim Johansson said: “While current global political and economic uncertainties create a challenging environment for price forecasting, it’s important for buyers to access the information and insights that help them drive better value in their air programmes.

“For the Air Monitor 2019, we have developed a robust, scientific methodology that combines GBT’s own historical flight transaction data with a wide range of critical metrics that drive supply and demand, shaping pricing conditions.”

The TMC’s next study will analyse ground transport and be published later this year .

2019 air fare forecasts – for bookings from UK & Europe:

Economy class fares business class fares
UK & Europe (For flights within UK & Europe) +2% +2%
Africa +1% 0%
Asia +3% +1.5%
Central America & Caribbean -1.0% 0%
Middle East 0% -1.0%
North America +1% +2.6%
South America -1% 0%

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