Cheap flights no longer possible in 2023, Tui boss warns UK holidaymakers, as demand surges
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Last-minute deals on ultra-cheap flights will no longer be possible due to increased demand outstripping supply, according to low-cost carrier Tui. Sebastian Ebel, chief executive of the Hanover-based Tui group, said there would be no return to the days when airlines discounted plane tickets to less than €50 (£44) to fill seats.
The head of Europe’s biggest tourism conglomerate has said the cost of air travel has risen by well over a fifth over the past year, or more than twice the broader rate of inflation across the developed world.
Flights between the UK and the rest of Europe are approximately a third more expensive this summer, according to an analysis by Kayak, a travel search engine. Last month, the French environment ministry announced that fares for domestic flights had increased by about a quarter in a year.
This is mostly due to an increase in its fundamental costs. According to The Times, the price of jet fuel surged at more than $175 per barrel last summer and remained above its long-term average despite a slow fall from these peaks in line with global crude oil prices.
Carriers in Europe now have to pay nearly €100 for every tonne of carbon dioxide they emit, as the price of permits has doubled since May 2021. This bill is expected to rise further next year as free pollution allowances are phased out.
Speaking to newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Ebel said: “The demand for holiday flights exceeds supply, so you won’t get these cheap offers for marketing campaigns like you used to, with occasional exceptions.”
He said there were already parts of the Mediterranean, especially in Greece, where there were “virtually no no beds left” for the summer, although there was still a bit of spare capacity in Turkey, Mallorca and mainland Spain.
Ebel added: “In 2023, there won’t be any ‘last-minute summer’ like there used to be. On the contrary the prices will tend to be higher rather than cheaper shortly before departure, because the hotel owners and carriers know that people will still be making a lot of bookings at short notice.”