Why is flying so expensive?

In my previous articles, I have talked about how Low-cost airlines make their money off of cheap, quick, non-stop flights. That all leads to the question, why do traditional airlines like British Airways and KLM need to make flying so expensive?

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If you were to fly from LAX to JFK in New York, the money paid for fuel would only have to be about $10 per person. So, if airlines pay this small amount on fuel, why does it cost you around $245 to fly there (cheapest direct found when using skyscanner.net ) instead of around $20 when you add crew costs? Well, to do that we have to break down how much goes where when paying for a flight.

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Credits: airlinegeeks.com

Breaking down the costs

So, now that we’ve added fuel costs, next we have to add crew costs. We would probably have to pay the pilots around $440, and 4 flight attendants $190 each. All that gives us a total of $1,200. A full A321 neo can take a maximum of 220 passengers, so when you divide 1,200 by 220, it adds a total of $5.5 to your price. Now we have a total of $15.5.

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Next, the airports need to be paid. JFK charges $6.33 per thousand pounds of weight taking off. Assuming that the plane is full, its maximum take-off weight is 206,000 Pounds. 206 multiplied by 6.33 = 1,303.98. If we divide that number by 220, it adds another $5.9 to our flight. LAX landing fees are $143 per every 12,500 pounds on the aircraft, meaning that we have to add another $10 to every person’s flight. Our total is now $31.4, already higher than a normal Ryanair flight.

Credits: reuters.com
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If we were then to add the taxes, it would make us come to around $47. Adding aeroplane costs ($8) Maintenance costs ($9) and an estimated cost which the airline has to pay for its non-flying staff ($10) will bring us up to $77. We then have to add other costs like in-flight food, entertainment services, and staff hospitality which brings us up to a very rough estimate of around $90. The rest is a prophet, seen as airlines having to make their money to pay for other things.

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Flying is very expensive. You can look at my other article to see how the low-cost airlines strip flying of the expensive parts.

Sources

  • wikipedia.com
  • Wendover Productions on Youtube
  • Google Maps
  • Skyscanner.net
  • faa.gov
  • xe.com
  • usatoday.com (Cover image)
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Published by Sam Jakobi (Sam the Avgeek)

I am a young Avgeek who has been interested in aviation since the age of around 3 or 4. I run a very small youtube channel in which I review flights and explain common things in the aviation industry.

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