Jetting off to the Mediterranean this summer? I hope you got a good deal, because cheap flights are becoming increasingly hard to find.
You probably had an inkling that the era of absurdly cheap short-haul flights in Europe was coming to an end. After all, according to travel search engine Kayak, summer flights between the UK and the continent are currently one-third more expensive than last year. But two new reports make it clear that this isn't just temporary turbulence.
It's the new reality for flying as airlines face a huge decarbonization challenge and tightening climate-compliance laws.
The first headwind stems from two big changes in the European Union's Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Airlines must have enough emissions allowances to cover every metric ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere on flights starting and ending in the European Economic Area, the UK and Switzerland. Right now, they get about half of those allowances for free. But that deal comes to an end in 2026, as the share of allowances they have to pay for starts to rise from 2024.