Every savvy traveler knows that the price of airline tickets regularly fluctuates for consumers based on several variables. Everything from chosen origins and destinations to seasons constitute the best times to book cheap airfare and frequent flyers are constantly battling to calculate an ideal formula for saving cash on flights. But a less prominent consideration on the part of global journeyers underlies long-term trends in the price of flights; what affects airline costs at a corporate level and how much control do the airlines themselves really have over pricing?
High Airport Taxes the Bain of Budget Airfare
It may come as no surprise, but the fact of the matter for international airlines is that airport taxes are the primary deciding factor in how expensive or cheap airline tickets can be. Much the same as additional car rental fees, further price hikes are often tacked on to flight tickets not simply to gain extra profit, but to offset the added cost of taxes and airport charges. In Europe, especially, mandatory taxes imposed on companies who host flights to and from international airports are higher than anywhere else in the world and the trend has caused quite a ruckus in the airline industry.
Rising taxes and an increasingly competitive price-driven market for flights have led to wage disputes among airline workers as carriers struggle to balance affordable ticket prices with fair salaries for employees. According to Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary, almost 3,000 flights had to be cancelled in the past year alone due to strikes over wage disputes. The discontentment over perceived unfair corporate taxes has been a long-standing issue that, in the past, had not seen any concentrated effort towards on the part of competing airline carriers.
European Airlines Come Together over Tax Gripes
While companies like Ryanair, British Airways, and easyJet are normally in fierce competition, the carriers have recently come together to condemn the European Union for excessive taxation and charges at European airports. British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, spoke out against charges he claimed were "unreasonable" and unnecessarily levied on corporations that play a key role in economic activity throughout Europe. In agreement, Carolyn McCall of easyJet projected that a change in the European Aviation Strategy could benefit everyone with a higher volume of flights and cheaper tickets for consumers. The combined efforts of these airline giants has been targeted with the intention of benefiting the entire airline industry, from industry employees to consumers alike.
No response has yet been elicited from EU authorities, but the cooperation among age-old rivals in the airline industry represents a progressive attempt to amend a deeply rooted system.