There was a bright spot in last week’s U.S. inflation report despite bad news surrounding rising prices overall: airfares are dropping.
Airline fares fell 1.8 percent in June, one of the few categories to drop as consumer prices have risen across the economy, according to the latest U.S. inflation data.
The inflation report matches data from fare-tracker website Hopper, which found that roundtrip domestic airfares dropped 6 percent in June and another 8 percent so far in July for an average of $351 per ticket.
Despite the decrease, airfares are still up more than 30 percent from a year ago, driven by high demand, high fuel prices and decreased industry capacity.
“There is such pent-up demand for access to our products,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said during the airline’s second quarter earnings call last week. “We’re not going to satisfy that thirst in the space of a busy summer period. There’s a lot of that demand to come.”
Leisure travel has led the way in the aviation pandemic recovery, and airlines don’t see that fading. Meanwhile, business travel continues to pick up steam.
Delta officials said domestic business demand was at 80 percent of 2019 levels, a figure echoed by both American and United.
“As we get toward the end of summer into the more traditional business travel season… we’re going to see an uptick in corporate travel,” Delta’s president Glen Hauenstein said on the same investor call, according to The Points Guy.
Overall, travel nationally continues to trend upward.
TSA national screening statistics show checkpoint counts closing in on pre-pandemic numbers and surpassing them on a handful of days—most recently on July 1, when approximately 2.5 million people were screened, up from 2019’s figure of approximately 2.2 million travelers.
Locally at PIT, passenger traffic was up nearly 18 percent in June 2022 when compared to June 2021. Similarly, year-to-date 2022, total passenger traffic rose nearly 58 percent, an increase of over 1.3 million passengers (1,390,833). Through June, passenger traffic for 2022 is at 81 percent of 2019 levels.