Increased fuel prices affecting airline ticket prices

Airlines are being forced to pay more to fuel their planes, and consumers are bearing the brunt of the cost.
Fuel trucks parked on the terminal at the Pierre Airport in Pierre, South Dakota.
Fuel trucks parked on the terminal at the Pierre Airport in Pierre, South Dakota.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 9:39 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - The holiday travel season is just around the corner, and with it many holiday travel plans.

But as consumers have gone to book their airline tickets this year, they have noticed an overall uptick in the prices of those tickets.

It doesn’t come without cause. According to The International Air Transport Association, the price for a barrel of jet fuel nearly doubled from the beginning of 2022 to about mid-Summer. Since then, it has dropped slightly. As a result, Yahoo Money projects that airplane tickets around the Thanksgiving holiday will be up about 41%.

Denver Air is one of many airlines having to raise their ticket prices.

“The same thing that has happened at the kitchen table is happening at our conference table,” said Jon Coleman, Director of Business Development for Denver Air. “Every cost is going up. Fuel and staffing the planes are two of the most expensive things about flying, and everyone is aware of the pilot shortage that happened too. The fuel costs for our flights haven’t quite doubled, but they are close.”

Except the price of fuel may be even more noticeable for the airline industry, given that the average price for a gallon of fuel for an airplane, is nearly double that of an automobile.

And the price for jet fuel is less volatile too.

“Let’s say for example the price at the gas pump for a car went down two dollars tomorrow,” Coleman explained. “Jet fuel would not do the same thing. So they tend to trend together, but not completely and jet fuel prices don’t fluctuate as much.”

To help consumers avoid the price hikes, Denver Air is running a “ticket special.” But booking early your flights as early as possible is not a bad idea either.

But even despite the drastic increase in ticket prices, close observers say that overall passenger numbers have not decreased, likely a credit to a return to pre-COVID travel levels.

That is a good sign in South Dakota especially, with pheasant hunting season right around the corner.

“The ability to have dependable air service out here is very critical, but it also has to be affordable,” explained Pierre City Commissioner Jamie Huizenga. Huizenga is also tasked with helping oversee the Pierre Airport. “Ticket prices drive a lot of air travel, and we did see that bump in prices earlier this year, with the fuel price increases and increased cost of employees, but we are still competitive and it has not hurt us too bad so far.”