Finding the cheapest airfares

travel January 15, 2018 16:00

By The Nation

Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) – a leader of air travel intelligence and commerce in the travel industry have just released the fourth annual Air Travel Outlook Report that is guaranteed to make interesting reading for anyone wanting to learn about air ticket pricing trends for economy and premium fare (economy, first and business class).

Drawing on ARC’s extensive air travel data, including average ticket prices, flight booking, departure and arrival trends between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017, Expedia and ARC experts analysed billions of data points for domestic and international air travel globally to identify key patterns that travellers can use to achieve airfare savings in 2018.

Besides revealing tips on how and when to find the best airfare savings in the coming year, the Air Travel Outlook Report also uncovered the top drivers of air travel demand in 2018, busiest air travel hubs in 2018 along with the top sources of passenger flows for these hubs.

“It’s well understood that consumers who possess relevant information in tune with their personal preferences before they shop, will be more confident and likely to make a final purchase,” said Chuck Thackston, ARC’s managing director of data science and research.

“With our continued strong relationship with Expedia, including Egencia, ARC is able to provide these broadbased insights on travel around the world – both leisure and corporate – that supports the continued growth of air travel and the travel industry as a whole. The ability to see what is changing and provide actionable data and insights to ARC’s customers and travellers worldwide is core to ARC’s analytical capabilities.”

The 2018 Air Travel Outlook Report finds that AsiaPacific poised to be the biggest driver of air travel demand in the next two decades. Based on the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s 20Year Air Passenger Forecast, air travel routes to, from and within the AsiaPacific region will see an extra 2.1 billion annual passengers by 2036, growing by an annual average rate of 4.6 per cent.

China is also anticipated to displace the US as the world’s largest aviation market by around 2022, while India is being tipped to surpass UK to take fifth place in 2025, with Indonesia catching up by 2030. Additionally, Thailand is anticipated to enter the world’s top 10 largest markets during the forecast period.

Travellers can save money by booking more than 30 days ahead of their travel date, which often results in cheaper airfares. 

When it comes to the best months to book international economy travel, the lowest ATPs were historically found in January for international economy travel from Japan in January; February for international economy travel from Indonesia; March for international economy travel from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore; November for international economy travel from South Korea and Thailand; and December for international economy travel from China.

For most premium air travel (first and business class), booking more than 30 days ahead also tend to result in cheaper airfares, while booking on a Saturday or a Sunday for travel on a Friday or a Sunday also tends to have the lowest ATPs across geographic regions.

The difference in the premiums paid for purchasing airfares on the most expensive day versus the cheapest day of week can range from 15 percent to 120 percent for international flights. This is likely driven by corporate traveller buying behaviour, as corporate travellers are less likely to book business travel on weekends when they are not at work.

Premium travellers who can afford to be flexible with travel dates can avoid travel during the months where the highest ATPs were recorded historically may save you some money. The month of June saw the highest ATPs for Australian and New Zealand travellers; while for most parts of Asia, the months between April and September had seen the highest international premium travel ATPs. 

Singapore is among the top five busiest air travel hubs in Asia and the majority of Asia’s busiest airports are concentrated in North Asia, with the exception of Bangkok and Singapore in Southeast Asia.

For economy travel, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Taipei emerged as the top five economy travel hubs in Asia, with majority of passenger flows originating from airports within the region.

“Expedia’s mission is to help people go places, and in order to achieve this, we are constantly on a lookout for ways to improve the travel booking experience, and leverage the power of data to do so. Based on the 2018 Air Travel Outlook Report, we concurred that booking your air tickets more than 30 days before departure will reap you the best savings,” said James Marshall, Asia Pacific vice president, transport partner services, Expedia group. 

“Depending on whether you are travelling premium or economy classes, and where you are travelling from, these factors will also play a part in determining when you can get the best air ticket prices. This report will not only give you the depth of information to help you make your travel booking decisions, it also empowers you to travel smarter, and travel more with less, especially in a time where ‘value’ has become increasingly important for travellers round the world,”


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