Airfare is surging, but PDX prices are soaring above other cities

Roundtrip flights out of Portland International Airport for the remainder of the summer were averaging $609 as of June 8.

PORTLAND, Ore. — America’s summer travel season is running headlong into the inflationary and supply-chain pressures upending many sectors of the economy — and it looks like passengers, particularly travelers on the West Coast, will be the ones footing the bill.

Recently released Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found airline prices increased by 12.6% in May on a month-to-month basis. Compared to May 2021, average airfares had increased by 37.8%.

According to data from Hopper Inc., a provider of online travel services and data, airfare for the nation’s busiest airports are at recent highs. Data provided to The Business Journals found the average domestic roundtrip ticket at the 50 largest airports this summer is $431. On average, fares for the rest of June through Aug. 31 are 94% higher than 2021 levels and 66% higher than 2019 levels, according to Hopper data.

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For flights from PDX, increases have been even steeper. Roundtrip flights out of Portland International Airport for the remainder of the summer were averaging $609 as of June 8, roughly double what they were averaging in March. Portland’s most-recent average was 166% higher than the same period in 2021 and was 120% greater than 2019 averages.

The pricing pressure largely stems from a disconnect in supply and demand for air travel. A combination of lower flight numbers and a surge in passenger traffic promise to keep plans packed for the foreseeable future. As of June 8, there were 1.99 million domestic flights scheduled for the summer travel period, from June 1 through Aug. 31. That total was 13% lower than pre-pandemic levels and a modest 3.6% bump over last year’s season, according to data from Cirium Inc., a provider of air travel and airport data and analytics.

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Read the full story at the Portland Business Journal.

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