Air fares taking different cost routes

4 October 2005
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05 October 2005 | Amon Cohen

Economy air fares to UK and European destinations are falling and business-class fares are rising. But fares in both classes to the US and Far East are climbing, according to travel management company BTI UK.

A presentation at BTI UK's client conference in London showed short-haul business and economy fares are diverging for a second consecutive year. Pressure from low-cost carriers means the average price paid by BTI UK clients for a domestic economy flight has fallen from £209 to £195 since 2003, while a business-class ticket has risen £12 to £266.

In contrast, economy fares to the US have risen sharply from £971 to £1,108. Spencer Smith, BTI director of consulting, explained much of the growth is due to increased uptake of so-called "fourth cabin" seats, such as British Airways' World Traveller Plus, which are more expensive but classed as economy.

On short-haul routes, Smith said there is potential to save even more by buying non-flexible tickets in advance of departure.

But booking habits will have to change. At present, 70 per cent of bookings by BTI clients are made in the week of departure.

SMoct2005

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