London: British holidaymakers seeking a winter getaway have been hit by the fastest increase in air fares since records began as airlines warn passengers of an end to budget travel.
Official data showed that air fares jumped 44.1 per cent compared with a year earlier as carriers report strong demand for flights despite the cost-of-living crunch squeezing UK households.
It marked a sharp acceleration from a rate of 24.3 per cent in November after an easing in price growth since the summer. December was the largest year-on-year increase in air fares since at least 1989, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Low-cost carriers in Europe have warned that the days of ultra-cheap air fares are coming to an end. However, demand is still buoyant in the wake of Covid-19 even amid a gloomy economic backdrop for households.
Ryanair Holdings Plc enjoyed record bookings last weekend with prices across the sector boosted by strong demand alongside limited capacity following the pandemic.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said on Tuesday the airline has seen “very strong demand” from travelers despite a sharp fall in disposable incomes.
“People I think are worrying that prices are going to rise this summer, which they will, and getting in early and booking their travel,” he said.