Expedia Group, in collaboration with ARC, has released new research that indicates that airfares booked by Canadian travellers in 2021 are gradually returning to pre-pandemic price levels.
According to the new study, released on Wednesday (Oct. 13), flights booked by Canadians for the first half of 2021 have shown a gradual return to pre-pandemic levels, with the latter half of Q2 into Q3 tracking lower than pre-pandemic levels (and significantly lower than mid-pandemic, 2020, levels).
June 2021 showed a 12.9 per cent decrease, July showed a 11.9 per cent decrease and August 2021 showed a 6.4 per cent decrease compared to their respective months in 2019.
“This reveals that while the airfare pricing levels have dropped steadily, August indicates that Q4 2021 prices are beginning to balance out,” the study says.
Great deals on airfare remain, however.
“Premium flight pricing is not rebounding as quickly as economy flight pricing,” the study notes.
In 2021, premium tickets were 193 per cent more expensive than economy tickets compared with 2020 where they were 246 per cent more expensive and 2019, at 260 per cent more expensive.
“So, for travellers hunting for a good deal, 2021 is the year for premium air travel,” the study says.
Rising travel confidence
Consumer confident in air travel is also on the rise.
In Canada, Expedia Group’s data shows that there has been a 210 per cent year-over-year growth in air searches between 2020 and 2021, with Toronto and Vancouver topping the “most searched for destinations” list (20 per cent) by Canadian travellers, trailed by Calgary and Montreal (10 per cent).
The intent to travel domestically is on an upward swing in Canada, with most of these Canadian flights (90 per cent) planned for Q4 2021 – half of which are slated for October.
“Expedia Group has been attuned to the momentum of rising travel confidence, and as more and more people are searching for flights on our sites in Q4 into 2022, we want to ensure that our airline partners are prepared as much as they can be to understand and capture this new demand,” said Julie Kyse, vice-president, global air partnerships with Expedia Group.
International travel returns
While domestic travel is fuelling the air industry’s recovery, Expedia Group and ARC data points to the return of international travel.
Expedia Group Canadian search data showed that in comparison to 2020, 2021 has seen more interest in international destinations, including London, Delhi and Las Vegas.
Over the last six months, there has been a consistent climb in the percentage of international short haul flights with August 2021 seeing a 66 per cent increase since February this year, according to ARC.