Cirium: Airfare Increases Trail U.S. Inflation Rate

While economy airfares in North America and Europe for the most part have risen over the past few years, the rate of increase has been below increases than other products and services, according to data published by Cirium this week.

U.S. domestic airfares across 13 airlines, in fact, were down year over year by the end of 2023, with December 2023 fares 9 percent lower than those in December 2022, Cirium reported. For the full year, the average U.S. domestic fare was $179.25, an increase of 9 percent from 2019, but Cirium noted that the inflation rate during that period was 19 percent, according to the U.S. Consumer Price Index. 

Transatlantic economy fares have increased at a higher rate but still below that 19 percent inflation rate, the data indicated. Cirium reported an average 2023 transatlantic economy fare of $435.17, up 5.9 percent from 2022 and up 14 percent from 2019. The average transatlantic business-class fare, $1,845 in 2023, has declined 3 percent since 2019, Cirium said.

“While airfare has risen in nominal terms in [the] U.S. and Europe, consumers will appreciate that the increases are less than other consumables,” Cirium CEO Jeremy Bowen said in a statement.

Transatlantic fares on some routes might decrease this summer with about 375,000 additional seats compared with 2023 scheduled to be flown in July, according to Cirium’s schedule data. Transatlantic capacity among measured carriers was up 18 percent year over year in 2023.

Airfares within Europe averaged $104.58 in 2023, up 8 percent compared with 2022 and 12 percent compared with 2019, Cirium said. Those averages exclude taxes and fees.

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