Monday, February 01, 2016

Falling oil prices resulting in cheaper air fares: Experts

New York: Plummeting oil prices have led to falling plane ticket prices-- and prospects for an even bigger bonanza of consumer-friendly fares in the coming months, airline industry experts say. With fuel prices down by two-thirds from the dizzying heights of mid-2014, when oil topped $100 per barrel, the once cash-strapped airline industry is now reaping record profits.

Increased competition also have helped coax down once stubbornly high fares, the experts say. "We've seen typical domestic prices drop about 14% over the past year," Patrick Surry, chief data scientist at Hopper, the airfare prediction app, told AFP.
"The drop in fuel prices is a major factor, along with increasing competition from low cost carriers, both domestically and internationally," Surry said. Experts say fuel makes up about a third of an airline's costs. With oil and jet fuel costs down two-thirds since last year, airlines can expect to reduce their overhead by about 20%.

Some of the best bargains are for air fares to popular US travel destinations like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, cities where competition is stiff. Good deals can also be had on routes to the southwestern US energy meccas of Houston and Dallas, where the slowdown in the oil business has led to discounted air fares.

Some companies said they are using the windfall in fuel costs to reduce debt and to make needed reinvestment in their infrastructure.
01/02/16 PTI/Daily News & Analysis
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