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Is Flying in Canada Getting More Expensive?

Is Flying in Canada Getting More Expensive?

It’s no secret that Canadians pay more for many common expenses than our neighbours to the south, as well as more compared to many countries across the world, for that matter.

The cost of flying in Canada is, was, and likely will continue to be no different, given our relatively small population spread out across a large area, our seasonal flying patterns, and the high government-imposed taxes and fees, amongst other reasons.

With Lynx Air recently folding and Sunwing being integrated into WestJet’s mainline operations, and as airlines continue to increase and add various fees, there’s currently no sign that flying in Canada is going to get any cheaper.

With this in mind, let’s take stock of the current state of affairs, as well as why Miles & Points is more relevant now than ever before.

Breaking Down Fares in Canada

Flying within Canada is expensive compared to other countries, and it’s due to a host of factors beyond the scope of a single article.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that ultra-low-cost carrier Lynx Air wasn’t able to survive more than two years in Canada, as it had to contend with offering low base fares amidst the high government- and airport-imposed taxes and fees, a relatively small population spread out over a large area, seasonal flying patterns, the high cost of fuel, and more.

It’s worth noting that all airlines face these same issues, too; however, it’s much more challenging for an ultra-low-cost carrier to generate revenue through low base fares than it is for mainline carriers who offer higher base fares with more bells and whistles.

To illustrate this, consider that Air Canada, WestJet, Porter Airlines, and Flair Airlines all offer flights on the busy Toronto–Vancouver route. 

Included in the total fares displayed above are the following amounts of taxes and fees:

  • Canadian Air Travellers Security Charge: $9.45 (all figures in CAD)
  • Airport Improvement Fee for Toronto Pearson: $35
  • HST (which applies to the base fare), Airport Improvement Fee, Air Traveller Security Charge, and NAV Canada fees: all variable, depending on the base fare

Looking at the $87 fare charged by low-cost carrier Flair Airlines for a one-way flight from Toronto to Vancouver (in the above image), only $32.21 of this total goes to the airline. The remaining $54.43 is taxes and fees that go to external parties, which are 100% unavoidable.

In other words, only 37% of the…

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