Travelers were met with airline ticket prices that, on average, were 10 percent higher during the second quarter of this year than in the same quarter last year. Competition remains fierce, though, and low-fare carrier Norwegian Air faces even lower fares from rivals like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Delta and American Airlines.
Airlines otherwise are trying to boost the lowest fares for tickets that can’t be changed or refunded. Norway’s state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway) reported at the end of August that the so-called “cheapest” tickets had in fact gone up by 14.3 percent on average. The “flexible” tickets, most often aimed at business travelers, had risen by 1.8 percent.
The airlines have cited higher operating and fuel costs, despite the dive in the price of oil. SSB said air fares overall were at their highest level since they started tracking them in 2006.
Competition over the Atlantic may drive some of them back down in the third quarter, after several of the large US- and UK-based carriers launched a fare war against Norwegian Air. They apparently grew weary of Norwegian Air’s low fares from Gatwick and introduction of new routes, and undercut a GBP 179 (NOK 2,300) one-way fare to the US East Coast, for example, with a GBP 379 round-trip fare.
“We see that our competitors in London lower fares to New York, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Los Angeles on the days we operate flights,” Norwegian Air spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen told Oslo newspaper Aftenposten. “On the days we don’t have flights, they maintain their high fares.” A British Airways spokesman pointed out that its fares also include baggage and meal service on board.