February 4, 2023

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Flights will be more expensive

Willie Walsh said Heathrow Airport could have prepared better to welcome back passengers. [Source: BBC News]

The price of airline tickets will go up “without a doubt” as fuel costs rise, and air industry boss has warned.

Oil prices have jumped as economies recover from the Covid pandemic and due to the war in Ukraine.

These costs will be passed on to consumers, Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said.

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The ex-British Airways boss also said Heathrow Airport “should have prepared better” to avoid recent disruption.

But Heathrow said Mr Walsh’s comments were “ill-informed”.

Holidaymakers need to be prepared for the cost of flights to go up, Mr Walsh told the BBC Sunday Morning programme.

“Flying will be more expensive for consumers, without a doubt”, he said, adding that the “high price of oil” will be “reflected in higher ticket prices”.

Oil prices were already rising as demand picked up again in economies that had started recovering from the Covid pandemic.

The fallout from the war in Ukraine has pushed prices up further. The US has announced a complete ban on oil imports from Russia, with the UK is to phase out Russian supplies by the end of the year.

European Union leaders have said they will block most Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.

This means demand for oil from other producers has increased, leading to higher prices.

Mr Walsh said fuel prices were at record highs, and that “oil is the single biggest element of an airline’s cost base”.

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“It’s inevitable that ultimately the high oil prices will be passed through to consumers in higher ticket prices.”

Alongside ticket price rises, UK airline passengers have had to deal with flight cancellations amid major disruption at some airports, including at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

Mr Walsh said passengers whose flights are cancelled may not have to pay more to rebook.