The Global Flight Pricing report reveals that four of the world’s cheapest airlines are in Asia. The study also shows that the cost per kilometer has gone from $17.75 in 2016 to $18.80. Interestingly, the report shows that the cost of Virgin Atlantic flights has gone down since 2016.

Air Asia X was listed as the cheapest airline, while Air India Express and Indonesia AirAsia came in second and third. There were no British airlines in the top 25. Meanwhile, Ryanair came in eighth,while Primera Air, which flies from Stansted, came in fourth. Surprisingly, Etihad, the Abu Dhabi airline, came in sixth. Qatar Airways and Emirates were listed at 15 and 25, respectively.


Virgin Atlantic managed to reduce its price per kilometre from 4 cents to 13 cents. Meanwhile, Easyjet went from 71 to 124 on the list with its cost per kilometre increasing from 14 cents to 19 cents. British Airways came in 139, down from 116 in 2016, with a cost per kilometre of 20 cents. Low-cost, international airline Norwegian came in 102.

“Since our 2016 report, we have seen some significant shifts in pricing and ranking,” said Kirsteene Phelan, CEO at Rome2Rio. “Airlines who have ventured into the budget scene - such as British Airways - as well as those such as Norwegian who have a reputation as budget stars - need to pass on higher fuel and operational costs to the customer.

“Sadly, the romance of air travel, whilst not dead, is certainly waning, with more airlines tipped to scale back their inflight offerings in favour of pay-to-play service to help boost profits. We anticipate those seeking to enjoy their journey will look for other options including rail to boost their travel experience.”

In the top 30, 24 airlines were Asian or Middle Eastern. “The AirAsia Group is particularly dominant with three of its airlines in the top 20,” said Phelan. “Although Qantas (eighth) ranks highly for value, we are often seeing travellers from the UK to Asia and Australia booking with carriers such as Etihad (sixth), Royal Brunei Airlines (19th), China Southern (20th) and Emirates (25th). This suggests that whilst overall value may be high for one airline over another, specific route pricing can vary greatly and travellers need to be vigilant for deals to ensure the best price to their destination.”

For those looking to travel from the US to Europe, the best deal was offered by Primera Air, followed by WOW Air. Also well-ranked were Air Canada and United Airlines, at 84 and 90, respectively.

“Travel between the US and UK has been one of the hot markets in the last two years, driven by the arrival of Norwegian Air,” says Phelan. “New kid on the block, Primera Air, seems to have snatched Norwegian’s crown, whilst the traditional flagship carriers of United Airlines, American Airlines and British Airways continue to struggle to keep pace with their newer competition.”

In Europe, travelers can find savings mostly with Ryanair, which came in seventh. WOW Air offers cheap flights to Iceland and other destinations, ranking ninth. For British travelers, international flights to Singapore are the cheapest.