Plane landing at Phuket Airport over a beach. (photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / southtownboy)
The Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that as long as jet fuel costs continue to remain unstable and jump in price, so will airfares as they are passed along to consumers.
Willie Walsh, the former head of British Airways, said the cost of buying an airline ticket—already up more than 40 percent compared to this time last year—will rise.
“Flying will be more expensive for consumers, without doubt,” Walsh said on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) weekly television show, BBC Sunday Morning. “(The) high price of oil (will be) reflected in higher ticket price.”
Oil and gas prices had already been shooting up when they were exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. Oil, Walsh said, is the single biggest cost to airlines so “it’s inevitable that ultimately the high oil prices will be passed through to consumers in higher ticket prices.”
Walsh also addressed the “mountain of luggage” issue being experienced at London’s Heathrow Airport, saying the facility could have been better prepared.
“They were arguing that airlines should be operating at least 80 percent of their slots through the summer period,” he said. “They clearly did not provide sufficient resources to deal with that level of activity, so you would have to be critical of Heathrow.”
A Heathrow spokesman quickly shot back on Sunday.
“Aviation is under considerable pressure as demand ramps up—at Heathrow we’ve faced 40 years of growth in just four months—and 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,” said a Heathrow spokesperson. “Unlike Mr. Walsh, our overriding concern is not a blame game or abdication of responsibility, but what is in passengers’ best interest.”