Aviation
Air Fares, Canadian Air Carriers, Level I

Release date: August 28, 2019

Skip to text

Text begins

Highlights

Analysis

Average base air faresNote 

The airline industry continued to see increased demand for air travel in 2018 for the ninth consecutive year following the economic slowdown of 2009. During this period, base air fares in Canada for domestic and international travel combined (on a coupon origin-destination basis) averaged $231.10, down 0.6% from 2017, re-establishing the downward trend seen in the previous three years. The decrease in 2018 was mainly the result of year-over-year declines in the last three quarters, with the most notable drop occurring in the second quarter (-4.0%).

The average domestic base fare was $164.90 in 2018, a decrease of 2.0% from the previous year.

The average international base fare fell 1.3% to $295.10, mainly driven by a decline in the second quarter (-5.3%).

As shown in Chart 1, the average domestic air fare has steadily declined since 2014 (momentarily rebounding in 2017); however, for the third consecutive year, it remained below the average fare registered in 2009, the year of the economic slowdown. The aggressive and competitive nature of the airline industry continues to be a factor that may explain the situation. The substantial price competition from Canadian low-cost carriers translated into limited ability for the major airlines to increase base fares. Furthermore, the growth and competitiveness of Internet distribution channels continue to push air carriers to more aggressively price their products to cost-conscious travellers.

Chart 1 Average air fares - All fares, by sector, 2014 to 2018

Data table for Chart 1 
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Years (appearing as row headers), Domestic, International and Total , calculated using dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Years Domestic International Total
dollars
2014 184.90 315.50 243.70
2015 176.70 314.40 241.00
2016 167.50 291.90 227.90
2017 168.30 299.10 232.50
2018 164.90 295.10 231.10

In the international sector, the average air fare experienced a year-over-year decrease for the fourth time in five years. Despite the decrease from the previous year, international fares in 2018 remained slightly higher than the average fare registered in 2016, but well below the average international air fare recorded ten years ago. The continued increase and intense competition amongst Canadian and foreign carriers in international markets, and the expansion of low-cost flights in select leisure destinations in the United States, as well as in other international leisure markets where demand is highly elastic and responds positively to lower prices are among the factors that may have contributed to the decrease in the international fares. Increasing jet fuel prices, however, may partly explain why fares in this sector remained above the average fare seen in 2016.

Average domestic base air fares at the city level

In 2018, among the 10 selected Canadian cities where passengers boarded the plane (enplanement), all western cities recorded decreases in average domestic air fares, while two eastern cities—Montreal (+1.7%) and Ottawa (+1.0%)—posted increases. Toronto ($190.60) edged out Vancouver ($187.90) as the city with the highest average domestic air fare in 2018. Saskatoon ($147.20) continued to post the lowest average domestic air fare since 2014. Higher fares in Vancouver and Toronto can be partly explained by the fact that more long-haul flights—which are more expensive—leave from Vancouver International Airport and from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport

As shown in Chart 2 below, Toronto was the only selected eastern Canadian city of enplanement to register an average domestic air fare above the national level ($164.90) in 2018. During the same period, Vancouver and Winnipeg were the only selected western Canadian cities of enplanement to register an average fare above the national level.

Chart 2 Average air fares - All fares, by sector, 2014 to 2018

Data table for Chart 2 
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2 2017 and 2018, calculated using dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2017 2018
dollars
Canada 168.30 164.90
Winnipeg 169.50 167.10
Vancouver 193.40 187.90
Toronto 193.20 190.60
Saskatoon 150.10 147.20
Regina 159.00 156.70
Ottawa 160.60 162.20
Montreal 160.90 163.60
Halifax 158.90 158.50
Edmonton Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act 150.30
Calgary 162.90 154.30

For historical annual data at the city level, please refer to Table 23-10-0238-01 (formerly: CANSIM 401-0004).

The air fare index is no longer included in this publication as of reference year 2012. However, this data series can be found in Table 18-10-0033-01 (formerly: CANSIM 329-0078).

Note to user

The estimates are derived from a sample of flight coupons collected as part of the Fare Basis Survey. The estimates relate to the operations of major Canadian air carriers. For 2018, the air carriers included are the Canadian Level I carriers (Air Canada (including Air Canada rouge), Jazz, Air Canada’s Canadian regional code-share partners, Air Transat and WestJet).

For purposes of statistical tabulations, fare codes reported by the air carriers are grouped by general fare type. These fare types are defined as follows:

  • First class: The transportation of a passenger or passengers for whom premium-quality services (e.g. larger seats, complimentary bar) are provided.
  • Business class: A fare level which is less expensive than first class and more expensive than the basic fare level. It includes different amenities (e.g. larger seats, advanced seat assignment).
  • Economy: A basic fare level which is less expensive than first class but does not include the amenities (e.g. larger seats, complimentary bar) of the first class fare.
  • Discount: A reduced fare usually subject to one or more travel restrictions, the price of which is usually calculated as a percentage reduction from the normal full fare. It includes various discount fares such as charter class, seat sales, advance purchase excursion and group.
  • Other: Represents industry and agency discount fares, military as well as unknown fare codes.

The average fare is obtained by dividing the carriers' revenue by the passenger volume, as measured by coupon origin and destination.

The average domestic air fares are the average for all coupons originating in that city, for all domestic destinations. The level of average fares can be affected by changes in travel patterns, as well as prices.

Average air fares are base fares and they do not include the goods and services tax, air transportation taxes or user fees such as airport fees or fuel surcharges.

Additional information on Fare Basis statistics can be obtained directly from the Aviation Statistics Centre. Tables are available in print form or in electronic format. For further information, please call (1-866-500-8400) or e-mail Client Services at STATCAN.TransportationStats-StatistiqueduTransport.STATCAN@canada.ca.


Table 1
Average fares, by sector and fare type group - Canadian air carriers, Level lTable 1 Note 1 - Scheduled services
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average fares Fare type group, Total, Business class, Economy, Discounted and Other, calculated using dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Fare type group
Total Business class Economy Discounted Other
dollars
Domestic
2014 184.90 2,736.60 271.80 182.90 147.20
2015 176.70 2,784.50 280.00Note E: Use with caution 174.70 173.80
2016 167.50 2,901.20Note E: Use with caution 282.20Note E: Use with caution 166.00 156.30
2017 168.30 Note F: too unreliable to be published 297.70 166.40 154.00
2018 Note P: preliminary 164.90 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published 163.10 148.30
Short-haul
2014 129.10 1,354.60Note E: Use with caution 191.00 127.70 100.30
2015 118.50 Note F: too unreliable to be published 189.80Note E: Use with caution 117.10 136.90
2016 111.00 Note F: too unreliable to be published 185.70Note E: Use with caution 110.00 125.60
2017 114.20 Note F: too unreliable to be published 201.90 112.70 128.10
2018 Note P: preliminary 116.00 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published 114.50 125.60
Long-haul
2014 235.20 2,866.90 364.00Note E: Use with caution 232.40 188.10
2015 228.50 2,814.50 375.00Note E: Use with caution 225.90 204.40
2016 217.70 2,905.20Note E: Use with caution 376.30Note E: Use with caution 215.60 186.00
2017 216.50 Note F: too unreliable to be published 398.90Note E: Use with caution 214.10 178.50
2018 Note P: preliminary 209.80 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published 207.70 165.50
International
2014 315.50 4,412.80Note E: Use with caution 486.10Note E: Use with caution 311.20 205.80
2015 314.40 4,798.80 Note F: too unreliable to be published 310.30 238.90
2016 291.90 5,483.30Note E: Use with caution 500.00Note E: Use with caution 289.00 113.20
2017 299.10 5,860.60Note E: Use with caution 544.70 295.60 140.60
2018 Note P: preliminary 295.10 Note F: too unreliable to be published 552.80 291.20 195.50
Domestic and international
2014 243.70 3,978.60Note E: Use with caution 361.60Note E: Use with caution 240.70 176.00
2015 241.00 4,384.30 Note F: too unreliable to be published 238.20 188.90
2016 227.90 5,018.50Note E: Use with caution 383.10Note E: Use with caution 225.80 133.60
2017 232.50 5,418.30Note E: Use with caution 399.30 230.10 148.80
2018 Note P: preliminary 231.10 Note F: too unreliable to be published 383.90Note E: Use with caution 228.70 157.10

Table 2
Distribution of passengers, by sector and fare type group - Canadian air carriers, Level lTable 2 Note 1 - Scheduled services
Table summary
This table displays the results of Distribution of passengers Fare type group, Business class, Economy, Discounted and Other, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Fare type group
Business class Economy Discounted Other
percent
Domestic
2014 0.0 2.2 97.1 0.7
2015 0.0 1.7Note E: Use with caution 97.9 0.4
2016 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.2Note E: Use with caution 98.3 0.5
2017 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.4 98.0 0.6
2018 Note p: preliminary 0.0 1.5 97.7 0.8
Short-haul
2014 0.0Note E: Use with caution 2.4 96.9 0.7
2015 Note F: too unreliable to be published 1.9Note E: Use with caution 97.7 0.4
2016 Note F: too unreliable to be published 1.3Note E: Use with caution 98.2 0.5
2017 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.5 97.9 0.6
2018 Note p: preliminary 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.7 97.6 0.7
Long-haul
2014 0.0 1.9Note E: Use with caution 97.4 0.7
2015 0.0 1.6Note E: Use with caution 98.0 0.4
2016 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.2 98.3 0.5
2017 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.3 98.1 0.6
2018 Note p: preliminary 0.0 1.3 97.8 0.9
International
2014 0.0 1.9Note E: Use with caution 97.2 0.8
2015 0.0 1.4Note E: Use with caution 98.4 0.1
2016 0.0 1.1Note E: Use with caution 98.3 0.6
2017 0.0 1.0 98.6 0.4
2018 Note p: preliminary 0.0 0.9 98.9 0.2
Domestic and international
2014 0.0 2.1Note E: Use with caution 97.2 0.7
2015 0.0 1.6Note E: Use with caution 98.1 0.3
2016 0.0 1.2Note E: Use with caution 98.3 0.5
2017 0.0 1.2 98.3 0.5
2018 Note p: preliminary 0.0 1.2 98.3 0.5

Table 3
Distribution of passenger-kilometres, by sector and fare type group - Canadian air carriers, Level lTable 3 Note 1 - Scheduled services
Table summary
This table displays the results of Distribution of passenger-kilometres Fare type group, Business class, Economy, Discounted and Other, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Fare type group
Business class Economy Discounted Other
percent
Domestic
2014 0.0 1.9 97.3 0.7
2015 0.0 1.6Note E: Use with caution 98.0 0.4
2016 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.2 98.3 0.4
2017 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.3 98.1 0.6
2018 Note p: preliminary 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.3 97.9 0.8
Short-haul
2014 0.0Note E: Use with caution 2.7 96.6 0.7
2015 Note F: too unreliable to be published 2.1Note E: Use with caution 97.5 0.4
2016 Note F: too unreliable to be published 1.4Note E: Use with caution 98.0 0.6
2017 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.7 97.6 0.7
2018 Note p: preliminary 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.8 97.3 0.9
Long-haul
2014 0.0 1.8Note E: Use with caution 97.5 0.7
2015 0.0 1.5Note E: Use with caution 98.1 0.4
2016 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.2 98.4 0.4
2017 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.2 98.2 0.5
2018 Note p: preliminary 0.0Note E: Use with caution 1.2 98.0 0.8
International
2014 0.1 1.4Note E: Use with caution 98.0 0.5
2015 0.1 1.0Note E: Use with caution 98.8 0.1
2016 0.1 0.8Note E: Use with caution 98.7 0.4
2017 0.1 0.7 99.0 0.3
2018 Note p: preliminary 0.1 0.6 99.2 0.1
Domestic and international
2014 0.1 1.6Note E: Use with caution 97.8 0.6
2015 0.0 1.2Note E: Use with caution 98.6 0.2
2016 0.0 0.9Note E: Use with caution 98.6 0.4
2017 0.0 0.9 98.7 0.3
2018 Note p: preliminary 0.0 0.8 98.9 0.3

Table 4
Average domestic fares for selected cities of enplanement - Canadian air carriers, Level lTable 4 Note 1 - Scheduled services
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average domestic fares for selected cities of enplanement - Canadian air carriers 2017 and 2018, calculated using dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2017 2018Note p: preliminary
dollars
Calgary 162.90 154.30
Edmonton Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act 150.30
Halifax 158.90 158.50
Montréal 160.90 163.60
Ottawa 160.60 162.20
Regina 159.00 156.70
Saskatoon 150.10 147.20
Toronto 193.20 190.60
Vancouver 193.40 187.90
Winnipeg 169.50 167.10

Table 5
Average fares, by sector and fare type group - Canadian air carriers, Level lTable 5 Note 1 - Scheduled services (quarterly)
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average fares Fare type group, Total, Business class, Economy, Discounted and Other, calculated using dollars and percentage change from 2017 to 2018 units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Fare type group
Total Business class Economy Discounted Other
dollars
Domestic
2017
First quarter 163.50 Note F: too unreliable to be published 267.20Note E: Use with caution 161.70 158.50
Second quarter 167.70 2,810.50Note E: Use with caution 312.50Note E: Use with caution 165.60 157.80
Third quarter 171.40 Note F: too unreliable to be published 327.40 169.70 156.70
Fourth quarter 169.30 Note F: too unreliable to be published 286.90Note E: Use with caution 167.40 144.80
2018Note p: preliminary
First quarter 163.60 Note F: too unreliable to be published 265.60Note E: Use with caution 161.70 155.10
Second quarter 161.20 Note F: too unreliable to be published 298.70 159.30 153.40
Third quarter 167.50 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published 165.60 175.20Note E: Use with caution
Fourth quarter 167.00 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published 165.60 112.00Note E: Use with caution
Short-haul
2017
First quarter 111.30 Note F: too unreliable to be published 183.90Note E: Use with caution 109.90 129.60
Second quarter 115.00 2,193.60Note E: Use with caution 211.70Note E: Use with caution 113.40 126.90
Third quarter 112.10 Note F: too unreliable to be published 221.00 110.70 125.80
Fourth quarter 118.20 Note F: too unreliable to be published 196.50Note E: Use with caution 116.70 130.00
2018Note p: preliminary
First quarter 115.20 Note F: too unreliable to be published 189.40Note E: Use with caution 113.60 137.20
Second quarter 114.40 Note F: too unreliable to be published 208.00 113.10 128.80
Third quarter 111.90 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published 110.20 150.10Note E: Use with caution
Fourth quarter 123.00 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published 121.50 Note F: too unreliable to be published
Long-haul
2017
First quarter 219.40 Note F: too unreliable to be published 370.10Note E: Use with caution 217.10 192.40
Second quarter 213.70 2,861.90Note E: Use with caution 419.60Note E: Use with caution 211.00 184.70
Third quarter 215.00 Note F: too unreliable to be published 414.40 212.90 180.70
Fourth quarter 219.50 Note F: too unreliable to be published 388.70Note E: Use with caution 216.90 160.70
2018Note p: preliminary
First quarter 214.40 Note F: too unreliable to be published 364.70Note E: Use with caution 212.10 172.30
Second quarter 203.40 Note F: too unreliable to be published 391.20 201.10 171.10
Third quarter 209.70 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published 207.50 192.60Note E: Use with caution
Fourth quarter 213.10 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published 211.60 Note F: too unreliable to be published
International
2017
First quarter 278.80 Note F: too unreliable to be published 539.80Note E: Use with caution 273.60 131.60Note E: Use with caution
Second quarter 298.90 5,655.40Note E: Use with caution 533.30Note E: Use with caution 295.60 146.80
Third quarter 326.40 Note F: too unreliable to be published 571.10 324.60 142.20
Fourth quarter 287.90 Note F: too unreliable to be published 550.70Note E: Use with caution 283.90 144.60
2018Note p: preliminary
First quarter 285.90 Note F: too unreliable to be published 572.80Note E: Use with caution 280.30 182.90Note E: Use with caution
Second quarter 283.00 Note F: too unreliable to be published 554.80Note E: Use with caution 279.40 192.30
Third quarter 325.00 Note F: too unreliable to be published 575.10 322.60 209.00Note E: Use with caution
Fourth quarter 281.60 Note F: too unreliable to be published 502.80Note E: Use with caution 277.40 195.10Note E: Use with caution
Domestic and international
2017
First quarter 224.40 Note F: too unreliable to be published 418.50Note E: Use with caution 220.70 145.60Note E: Use with caution
Second quarter 230.70 5,275.70Note E: Use with caution 392.20Note E: Use with caution 228.30 154.30
Third quarter 245.10 Note F: too unreliable to be published 389.30 243.70 151.60
Fourth quarter 227.10 Note F: too unreliable to be published 388.90Note E: Use with caution 224.30 144.70
2018Note p: preliminary
First quarter 231.30 Note F: too unreliable to be published 423.80Note E: Use with caution 227.60 161.00Note E: Use with caution
Second quarter 221.40 Note F: too unreliable to be published 390.90Note E: Use with caution 219.00 159.40
Third quarter 244.50 Note F: too unreliable to be published 369.70 242.90 181.20Note E: Use with caution
Fourth quarter 224.60 Note F: too unreliable to be published 341.80Note E: Use with caution 222.30 128.70Note E: Use with caution
   percentage change from 2017 to 2018
Domestic
First quarter 0.1 Note F: too unreliable to be published -0.6 0.0 -2.1
Second quarter -3.9 Note F: too unreliable to be published -4.4 -3.8 -2.8
Third quarter -2.3 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published -2.4 11.8
Fourth quarter -1.4 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published -1.1 -22.7
Short-haul
First quarter 3.5 Note F: too unreliable to be published 3.0 3.4 5.9
Second quarter -0.5 Note F: too unreliable to be published -1.7 -0.3 1.5
Third quarter -0.2 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published -0.5 19.3
Fourth quarter 4.1 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published 4.1 Note F: too unreliable to be published
Long-haul
First quarter -2.3 Note F: too unreliable to be published -1.5 -2.3 -10.4
Second quarter -4.8 Note F: too unreliable to be published -6.8 -4.7 -7.4
Third quarter -2.5 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published -2.5 6.6
Fourth quarter -2.9 Note F: too unreliable to be published Note F: too unreliable to be published -2.4 Note F: too unreliable to be published
International
First quarter 2.5 Note F: too unreliable to be published 6.1 2.4 39.0
Second quarter -5.3 Note F: too unreliable to be published 4.0 -5.5 31.0
Third quarter -0.4 Note F: too unreliable to be published 0.7 -0.6 47.0
Fourth quarter -2.2 Note F: too unreliable to be published -8.7 -2.3 34.9
Domestic and international
First quarter 3.1 Note F: too unreliable to be published 1.3 3.1 10.6
Second quarter -4.0 Note F: too unreliable to be published -0.3 -4.1 3.3
Third quarter -0.2 Note F: too unreliable to be published -5.0 -0.3 19.5
Fourth quarter -1.1 Note F: too unreliable to be published -12.1 -0.9 -11.1

Table 6
Discount fare traffic, by sector - Canadian air carriers, Level lTable 6 Note 1 - Scheduled services (quarterly)
Table summary
This table displays the results of Discount fare traffic Passengers, Passenger-kilometres, 2017 and 2018, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Passengers Passenger-kilometres
2017 2018Note p: preliminary 2017 2018Note p: preliminary
percent
Domestic
First quarter 97.8 97.5 98.0 97.7
Second quarter 98.1 98.1 98.2 98.1
Third quarter 98.3 98.0 98.4 98.1
Fourth quarter 97.7 97.1 97.8 97.4
Short-haul
First quarter 97.7 97.4 97.4 97.1
Second quarter 97.9 98.1 97.7 97.9
Third quarter 98.2 97.9 98.0 97.6
Fourth quarter 97.5 96.9 97.2 96.6
Long-haul
First quarter 98.0 97.6 98.1 97.9
Second quarter 98.2 98.1 98.3 98.2
Third quarter 98.4 98.0 98.4 98.1
Fourth quarter 97.8 97.3 97.9 97.6
International
First quarter 97.7 98.3 98.2 98.7
Second quarter 98.8 99.2 99.2 99.4
Third quarter 99.2 99.4 99.5 99.6
Fourth quarter 98.4 98.8 98.8 99.0
Domestic and international
First quarter 97.8 98.0 98.1 98.5
Second quarter 98.4 98.6 98.9 99.1
Third quarter 98.7 98.7 99.2 99.2
Fourth quarter 98.0 97.9 98.5 98.6

Table 7
Average domestic fares for selected cities of enplanement - Canadian air carriers, Level lTable 7 Note 1 - Scheduled services (quarterly)
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average domestic fares for selected cities of enplanement - Canadian air carriers Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg, calculated using dollars and percent change from 2017 to 2018 units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Calgary Edmonton Halifax Montréal Ottawa Regina Saskatoon Toronto Vancouver Winnipeg
dollars
2017
First quarter 154.70 148.20 153.20 158.60 145.40 148.00 135.30 193.60 189.10 170.90
Second quarter 161.70 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act 152.70 160.70 160.80 164.70 151.50 191.40 194.50 169.20
Third quarter 169.30 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act 169.70 158.30 164.60 162.20 160.00 192.20 196.90 167.00
Fourth quarter 163.80 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act 156.00 166.20 169.40 159.00 150.20 196.10 191.80 171.70
2018Note p: preliminary
First quarter 152.00 143.80 153.70 164.30 159.00 142.00 135.50 195.90 188.30 167.50
Second quarter 149.00 143.70 147.40 167.00 161.40 153.60 144.10 189.30 181.20 159.50
Third quarter 159.30 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act 170.80 159.40 161.30 159.80 152.40 188.10 193.00 164.40
Fourth quarter 155.80 158.80 157.70 164.40 166.90 170.00 155.60 190.70 188.20 178.60
     percent change from 2017 to 2018
First quarter -1.7 -3.0 0.3 3.6 9.4 -4.1 0.1 1.2 -0.4 -2.0
Second quarter -7.9 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act -3.5 3.9 0.4 -6.7 -4.9 -1.1 -6.8 -5.7
Third quarter -5.9 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act 0.6 0.7 -2.0 -1.5 -4.8 -2.1 -2.0 -1.6
Fourth quarter -4.9 Note x: suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act 1.1 -1.1 -1.5 6.9 3.6 -2.8 -1.9 4.0
Date modified: