April 17th, 2024

Airfares fall 14% in January as demand eases and competition ramps up

By The Canadian Press on February 20, 2024.

Statistics Canada says the price of airfare fell more than 14 per cent in January versus the same month in 2023. WestJet passengers use a self-service kiosk in the domestic check-in area at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Friday, May 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

OTTAWA – Statistics Canada says prices for airfares fell more than 14 per cent in January compared with the same month in 2023.

The agency’s consumer price index report says plane fares also dropped nearly 24 per cent between December and January, as holiday demand gave way to last month’s stay-at-home habits.

However, the price of a ticket remained 10 per cent above 2019 levels, reflecting aviation’s higher costs and slightly lower capacity in a post-pandemic world.

January’s year-over-year fare decline follows a trend seen since April where prices have fallen compared to the same months a year earlier, including a 10 per cent fall in December and 17 per cent drop in November.

Duncan Dee, former chief operating officer at Air Canada, says the decrease reflects a drop in demand due to the financial pressures consumers continue to feel from inflation and higher interest rates.

He also says competition remains fierce between Canadian airlines, as smaller players expand and WestJet and Air Canada battle budget carriers for customers on routes to sun destinations and North American cities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2024.

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