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Double whammy: Flight fares soar amidst rising fuel costs


Holidaymakers with travel plans on the horizon are being urged to book flights early as rising fuel costs cause flight fares to soar, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder analysis of Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) data revealed domestic flights are significantly more expensive than they were pre-pandemic.

When comparing the first 2 months of 2022 to the equivalent period in 2019, fares have risen by 7% on average with some routes rising as much as 112%.

Before the pandemic, airfares on the Perth to Sydney route cost travellers an average of $407. As of 2022, that number has more than doubled (up 112%) to $862.

The Melbourne to Perth route has also become more expensive, with its fares having increased 66% from $368 in 2019 to $611 in 2022.

According to Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker, 1 in 2 (49%) Aussies are planning to travel within the next 12 months.

Almost 1 in 3 (30%) are planning to travel within Australia while 9% plan to travel overseas. A further 10% plan to travel locally and overseas.

The average price of petrol in the week ending 20 March was $2.13 per litre across Australia according to the Australian Institute of Petroleum (AIP) and is expected to continue to soar.

Angus Kidman, travel expert at Finder, said airlines have already taken a massive financial blow due to COVID-19 and are only in the early stages of recovering their losses.

"Travellers are having to fork out hundreds more with some being priced out by the travel price hikes.

"Many Australians are eager to head overseas to reunite with family and friends after a tumultuous few years.

"As demand increases and airlines strive to rebuild capacity, Australians should be prepared for flight costs to remain high.

"To make matters worse, rising fuel costs will contribute to even higher airfares, leaving Aussies faced with no option but to book flights early."

According to the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia (BARA), airlines are currently operating about 20% of their international flights at 10-15% traffic volumes compared to pre-pandemic for states other than WA.

Between 2017 and 2018, the average flight from Melbourne to London was sitting at $1,412 – this flight now sits at an average of $1,616, an increase of 14.5%.

Kidman said fuel prices impact more than air travel.

"Aussies planning on renting a car while on holiday will also face higher than normal prices.

"Don't wait for prices to stabilise – if you're on the fence, booking early is the way to go.

"For unforeseen interruptions, travel insurance has never been more important to consider," Kidman said.

Average flight price of domestic fares
20192022% difference
Perth – Sydney$407$862112%
Melbourne – Perth$368$61166%
Adelaide – Perth$398$59950%
Adelaide – Brisbane$211$25320%
Melbourne – Sydney$170$114-33%
Gold Coast – Sydney$116$89-23%
Brisbane – Cairns$235$168-28%
Canberra – Sydney$330$238-28%
Notes: Airfare data from BITRE is the average of the cheapest available fare. Comparisons between 2019 and 2022 include only data from January and February to account for seasonal changes in prices.

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