To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the annual reduction in air fares has been in the UK since 2000 for the (a) business, (b) leisure and (c) no-frills carrier sectors; and what assessment he has made of these figures in relation to the forecast assumptions contained in the Air Transport White Paper.
The average fare paid on international no frills flights has dropped by 16 per cent. over the 2000–04 period. Other international leisure fares (excluding those included as part of a holiday package) have only fallen by 2 per cent. Average fares paid by international business passengers have fallen by 20 per cent. between 2000 and 2004, but this in part reflects the relative weakness of the long haul sector after 2000, and reduced use of premium cabins by business passengers on short haul flights. The headline reduction in fares in the national forecasts supporting the White Paper was on average a 1 per cent. fall per annum in real terms over the period 1998–2020.