Asia-Pacific region witnesses steep hike in airfares

As air traffic rebound strongly in the Asia-Pacific region after the downturn, airlines started charging higher fares making air travel costlier, said the American Express Business Travel (AEBT) Monitor in its study on airfare trends in the region released here today.

"Airlines initially were cautious in their response to raising airfares. However, during the later part of the third quarter of this year up until now, more and more airlines are throwing caution to the wind and it's becoming more expensive for travellers to fly as a result," Vice President of Global Business Partnerships and Advisory Services for AEBT Robert Tedesco said.

He pointed out that airlines were reducing availability of discounted seats even as the demand picked up. "This has also made travelling more of an expense for both corporations and leisure travellers," he said.

Analysing the study, Tedesco said he believed that the airlines' current strategy to limit capacity below traveller demand has contributed to price increases and this would continue to do so in the short term.

"This is particularly true for national carriers throughout the region, which have been able to raise fares more quickly than smaller carriers given their market dominance," he said.

The American Express Monitor's analysis of the Asia- Pacific region as a whole showed year-over-year price increases across all class categories at an average of two per cent.

The prices in the third quarter remained steady compared with those during the second. "Airlines across the region, particularly the dominant carriers, increased fares towards the end of the third quarter", the study said.

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