An airline executive has warned that if fuel prices rise, the cost of plane tickets will rise “without a doubt.” Oil prices have risen as economies recover from the Covid epidemic and as a result of the Ukraine conflict.
According to Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), these costs would be passed on to customers.
The former British Airways executive also stated that Heathrow Airport “could have prepared better” to avoid the recent disruption. Walsh told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme that holidaymakers should expect flight prices to rise.
“Flying will be more expensive for consumers, without doubt”, he said, adding that the “high price of oil” will be “reflected in higher ticket prices”.
Oil prices were already climbing as demand recovered in nations that had begun to recover from the Covid epidemic. The aftermath from Ukraine’s war has driven prices further higher. The United States has imposed a comprehensive ban on Russian oil imports, while the United Kingdom plans to phase out Russian supplies by the end of the year.
European Union officials have stated that they will ban the majority of Russian oil imports by the end of 2022. This indicates that demand for oil from other sources has grown, causing prices to rise.
Walsh stated that fuel prices were at an all-time high and that “oil is the single largest component of an airline’s cost base.”
“It’s inevitable that ultimately the high oil prices will be passed through to consumers in higher ticket prices.”
Along with ticket price increases, UK airline passengers have faced flight cancellations as a result of considerable disruption at various airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester. Passengers whose flights are cancelled may not have to pay more to rebook, according to Walsh.
However, he advised airports that “cannot cope” to change their schedules immediately “so that they can accommodate as many people as possible.”
He singled out Heathrow, which has recently experienced issues with aircraft fueling and its luggage system.
“Heathrow definitely should have prepared better,” Walsh said.
“They were arguing that airlines should be operating at least 80% of their slots through the summer period. They clearly did not provide sufficient resources to deal with that level of activity, so you would have to be critical of Heathrow.”
Walsh acknowledged that many of the challenges affecting airlines and airports were caused by staffing concerns, but he said he had “no regrets” about making large cuts to British Airways’ headcount during the epidemic while he was the airline’s CEO.
(Adapted from BBC.com)