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Why are international flights so expensive and where can I go for a low-cost getaway?

by Staff

Have you desperately been dreaming of a holiday far, far away from the shores of Australia?

But flights are priced way out of your budget so you keep waiting for a good deal to come around, while aggressively saving in the meantime.

Well, you’re not alone – a report from flight comparison website Skyscanner says more than one third of Australians are budgeting to spend more on travel.

Despite the cost of living, government figures show international travel has hit its highest level since the pandemic, with no signs of slowing.

Here we ask experts to explain why international airfares still cost so much, and share their tips on how to bag a cheeky low-cost getaway.

Why are flights so expensive?

The rising cost of fuel is the main reason, University of Queensland’s tourism and airlines expert Pierre Benckendorff says. 

“The price of crude oil has been high from about late 2022 through to 2023 into 2024 … and fuel increases are often passed on to consumers,” Dr Benckendorff says. 

Australians are finding ways to afford travel despite the biting cost of living.(ABC News: Giulio Saggin)

The COVID pandemic also brought along other issues airlines have yet to recover from.

Not unique to the aviation industry, global supply chain issues are ongoing and the delivery of parts and maintenance services continues to be disrupted, says Dr Benckendorff.

Some other hangovers include airlines operating on a reduced fleet from having retired some aircraft, as well as dealing with unstable staffing levels following a massive lay-off over the pandemic.

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