airplane aircraft

The price of flights into and out of Malta are likely to be cheaper this winter than at any other point of 2022, as airlines see the first period of relative stability since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had thrown air travel into disarray.

Airlines and airports found it difficult to replace staff shed during the crisis, leaving them unable to meet the high demand seen over the summer, leading to widespread delays and cancellations across Europe and beyond.

This led some airlines to adopt drastic measures, with British airline EasyJet ripping out seats from its planes to allow it to fly with a slimmed-down crew, and Australian flag carrier Qantas urging its executives and managers to undertake baggage handling duties.

Adding to the chaos was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both major fuel exporters, towards the beginning of 2022. This led to further price pressures, exacerbated by sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and its international partners.

However, those dreaming of a winter getaway may find reason to smile this Christmas, as flight prices are at their lowest level since the beginning of 2022.

Air Malta’s and Ryanair’s websites indicate that sub-€100 return flights to places like Rome, London and Krakow are plentiful for anyone interested in a weekend getaway.

Data collected by travel management company TravelPerk shows that European air ticket prices fell by 11 per cent in the last quarter of 2022, as compared to the previous quarter.

Air fares in general are still 34 per cent higher than pre-Covid, although this is down from being 60 per cent more expensive in April and May 2022.

European accommodation prices have similarly fallen by seven per cent compared with the summer. The cities to see the steepest drops in hotel rates over this period include Edinburgh (-24 per cent), Barcelona (-18 per cent), Dublin (-15 per cent) and Munich (-12 per cent).

Speaking to BusinessNow.mt, Malta International Airport put the higher prices reported over the summer down to “the sudden release of pent-up demand for air travel accumulated over the pandemic years.

It added: “In relation to this dynamic, it is also worth noting that, generally speaking, seat capacity to Malta is still below 2019 levels, meaning that while demand is on the rise, seat availability remains limited. Other factors such as the increase in fuel costs and inflation have also contributed to the increase in air fares.”

The national airport’s representative also noted that its charges to airlines have remain unchanged since 2006, and stressed that it has limited influence over air fares.

A spokesperson for Emirates meanwhile noted that the airline had adjusted its fares effective 12th October in response to market uncertainty and the challenging conditions it faces, including rising operational costs.

“The adjustments vary by flight sector and fare class. We continue to make every effort to achieve cost efficiencies and are closely monitoring the situation. We remain committed to deliver competitive fares, and superior experiences to our customers,” they said.

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