Cost to Fly is on the Rise, and Fuel Prices May be to Blame

March 23, 2022
The recent pain at the fuel pump doesn't stop with cars and trucks — the cost of air travel is also on the rise.

Mar. 22—The recent pain at the fuel pump doesn't stop with cars and trucks — the cost of air travel is also on the rise.

Representatives from both the Muskegon County Airport and the Grand Haven Memorial Airport report that fuel prices could be a factor in making flights more expensive.

Although both are smaller airports, Muskegon County's is tailored toward the needs of an average traveler. It offers commercial flights to and from Chicago, and casino charter flights to Laughlin, Nevada, and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Grand Haven's municipal airport caters more to small aircraft flights used for business, recreational pilots and skydiving.

"I do believe gas and jet fuel prices (are) having an impact on air travel and ticket prices," Muskegon County Airport Director Joel Burgess said. "Rising oil prices do put upward pressure on airfares, but there are so many overall cost factors that go into pricing a ticket, with oil and gas prices only being a small portion of the ticket price overall."

Burgess said ticket prices were much lower during the pandemic, and prices may now be beginning to rise as things start to normalize.

"(The) demand has slowly recovered to 'normal' levels allowing (airlines) to raise ticket prices without the threat of losing customers over the increase," he explained. "This increase would include any rise in fuel prices that the airline is seeing in the recent price spike."

It may still be too early to tell if the rising fuel prices will affect flights at Grand Haven's airport. However, the cost of jet fuel seems to be following a similar upward trend.

"We kind of saw the increase happen last year, and we knew that we are going in this direction slowly but surely," said Jennifer Bares, who works at Grand Haven Memorial Airport. "Our prices are at $5.19 for 100 low lead right now.

"Right now, we haven't been seeing a substantial decrease in the effect of traffic," she added. "We won't really see the outcome until this summer. That is when I would have a better grasp of making the assumption if it is the fuel prices."

At the present time, gasoline prices aren't that far away from the cost of jet fuel, Bares said, meaning it could actually be cheaper to fly rather than drive.

Road trip

Adrienne Woodland, the public relations program consultant for AAA, says she doesn't think the price hike on gas will prevent travelers from taking road trips this summer.

"Coming out of a two-year pandemic, Americans are eager to return to a sense of normalcy, which includes traveling," Woodland said. "Because of that, and historical trends, AAA believes rising gas prices alone will not deter people from traveling. It's more likely that travelers will drive shorter distances and budget more for gasoline, and spend less on things like their hotel, shopping and dining out."


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