The aviation industry has been under a lot of pressure recently, culminating in a chaos that has taken over Europe. The recovery of air travel to almost pre-pandemic levels has not only left airlines and airports unable to keep up, but has also led to an increase in prices.
On the one hand, higher demand drives prices higher, on the other hand, the biggest part of a plane ticket stands in the cost of the fuel, which has also got a lot more expensive. The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) General Director Willie Walsh told the BBC Sunday Morning programme that ultimately the consumers will be the ones to support the cost: the increased oil prices will “without doubt be reflected in higher ticket prices”.
It’s inevitable that ultimately the high oil prices will be passed through to consumers in higher ticket prices.Willie Walsh, IATA Director General, for BBC Sunday Morning
Oil was already becoming more expensive at the beginning of the year, as economies were restarting after the pandemic, but the war in Ukraine has accelerated the price rise. As the rest of the world is trying to cut oil dependency on Russia, other producers face a higher demand, which, of course, means higher prices.
Unlike Ryanair’s CEO, whose opinion is that flights will get more expensive simply because prices have so far been unsustainably low and is sympathetic to airlines’ need to cancel flights, Walsh blames airports for not being better prepared, particularly criticising Heathrow Airport. “Heathrow definitely should have prepared better. They were arguing that airlines should be operating at least 80% of their slots through the summer period. They clearly did not provide sufficient resources to deal with that level of activity, so you would have to be critical of Heathrow”, he said.
Unlike Mr Walsh, our overriding concern is not a blame game or abdication of responsibility, but what is in passengers’ best interest.Heathrow spokesperson
A spokesperson for the airport responded to Walsh’s accusations, calling his comments “ill-informed” and condemning his “blame game”, BBC reports. “What we need is collaborative working and investment in services to protect passengers, not ill-informed comments from retired airline bosses seeking to justify their own bonuses”, the spokesperson said. The airport also clarified that it has in fact asked airlines to “limit demand in line with capacity and this has enabled the vast majority of travellers to get away smoothly in recent months”.