~ Seriously, you need to do something about the price of flying out of Gander. – Joan, by email
Prez Says: When I have meetings with community groups and stakeholders, I often ask them this question: if you are eavesdropping on strangers in a coffee shop who are talking about the airport, what are they saying? One of the major themes is the price of flying out of Gander versus other airports.
The idea that airfares at Gander are less competitive than neighboring airports doesn’t hold up anymore. We monitor airfares at our airport versus neighboring airports. We do a web scrape every quarter that captures the lowest available airfare by airport over a 90-day period, which captures thousands of flights and all the airlines.
Most people don’t like Math, but here were the results for the scan done for the travel period Feb. 23-May 30, 2018.
Halifax-roundtrip: from Gander, average lowest available airfare, inclusive of taxes, $290. Average lowest available from St. John’s is $312, average lowest available from Deer Lake $284. In summary, Halifax roundtrip prices from Gander are $6 more than Deer Lake and $22 less than St. John’s.
Let’s look at Toronto. From Gander $478, St. John’s $524 and Deer Lake $479.
Finally, Calgary. Roundtrip from Gander $724, St. John’s $760 and Deer Lake $743.
I’ll see if I can get a graph put up in the comments as everyone loves a good graph!
You can see that prices for key destinations from Gander are actually the cheapest for two of the three destinations and within $6 on the other. Basically, posted prices from Gander, Deer Lake and St. John’s are relatively flat; all within $25 of each other.
Posted prices reflect how airlines are pricing the market. Obviously, if you go to book a flight, and the Botwood Blades girls hockey team and their companions have booked 45 of the 50 available seats on a specific flight, it’s going to show a higher price for the remaining seats. There might be a seat sale in one market and not the other on any given day. But the bottom line is the pricing airlines are putting into our market is generally very good.
If it’s the overall price of travel you are talking about, I also looked at average prices out of Gander ten years ago. Airfares to Halifax are $300 cheaper than then and Toronto is almost 500 dollars less. Today’s traveler at Gander Airport will pay about half of what they did in 2008.
In my nearly 15 years at the airport, I’ve pleaded with Central Newfoundlanders to give their local airport a shot, to consider the convenience of traveling close to home, the savings in fuel, the availability of the cheapest parking of the three airports, the added benefit of contributing to local jobs and the regional economy. I’ve pretty well beaten that horse to a granular pulp. Price rules, but I will say that pricing here is competitive. People will have reasons for patronizing other airports – some valid, some not – but it isn’t purely a pricing matter.
Like I said, few people enjoy Math. But let me put it this way. 177,000 flew from Gander Airport last year. I can tell you two things about those people with some certainty. One, they are amazing, and two, they aren’t all rich or have no regard for money.
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