World's cheapest airlines named: 2016 Global Flight Price Ranking

Do Aussies pay more per kilometre for their time in the air than those fortunate folks flying the skies of Europe or North America? 

Not according to Rome2rio, the Melbourne-based global search engine that covers all bases, not just flights. In a follow-up to its 2012 airline price survey, Rome2rio has recently released its 2016 Global Flight Pricing Ranking.

By analysing the economy-class airfare data from searches performed on its website, Rome2rio has come up with a cost per kilometre figure in US dollars for more than 200 airlines around the globe. The data was harvested from more than 1 million fares displayed by Rome2rio in January and February 2016. Results are tabulated from least to most expensive. 

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In the preface to its findings Rome2rio suggests its data is "a conversation starter, not a definitive statement on pricing trends or a given airline's place in any particular pecking order". The Rome2rio blog publicising the 2012 study noted: "Rome2rio may not always have access to the cheapest fares. A major, comprehensive meta-search player such as Kayak or Skyscanner could perform a more thorough analysis based on a far greater sample of search logs or their airfare caches." Bearing those cautions in mind, it's still possible to draw a few broad-brush conclusions from the 2016 survey.

See also: Tips on how to get cheaper flights

Among airlines operating on international routes, the data backs the Asia-based budget airlines as the cheapest to fly per kilometre, with Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Airlines taking gold and Hong Kong Express and the Philippines CEBU Pacific Air completing the podium finishers. Scoot Airlines, in fourth place, is great news for Aussie travellers looking for a cheap connect to Singapore with the Singapore Airlines' low-cost offshoot now operating to seven Australian capital cities. 

The first legacy carrier to make an appearance in the table of international carriers is Russia's Aeroflot, coming in at No. 5 with a price of $0.08/km. Among the legacy carriers serving Australians cities, we're well up the league tables with Etihad in 13th place, followed immediately by Emirates, then Qatar at No. 23 with Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific snapping at their heels. Only $0.01 cent/km separates Etihad from Cathay Pacific, 14 places lower down on the cents/km table.  Qantas sits in 67th place at $0.14 cents/km, still a respectable finish against other international carriers. 

See also: World's best airport for 2016 named

Surprisingly, European and US budget carriers operating on international routes are nowhere near as lean and mean as their Asian counterparts. Flights aboard some of these European and North American budget operators come at a higher price per kilometre than flying aboard some of the world's finest airlines. Ryanair, which carries more international passengers than any other airline, is in 37th spot while easyJet is down at No. 79. Spirit Airlines, which prides itself as the US's ultra low cost carrier and incurs universal hatred for its penny-pinching business model, is in 69th place. Virgin America tops it by five places, and I know which airline I'd rather fly. JetBlue, another US-based budget carrier, sits at 116 on the list of international competitiveness. 

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One useful outcome from the analysis of domestic airlines is the nation-by-nation comparison provided on Rome2rio's Lowest Priced Country by Average data, and here Aussies score well. On this table, Russia sits in first place with its domestic carriers offering fares in the range $0.05-0.08/km, closely followed by Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey and India. Australia lies squarely in ninth place. Were it not for Regional Express, which skews the data with its cost/km of $0.47, which is almost four times the figure for Qantas, the next most expensive of our domestic carriers, the price we pay per kilometre for domestic air travel would put us among the five least expensive countries. Another clear fact to emerge from this data, those countries with fewer airlines tend to be the most expensive to fly per kilometre. When competition dries up, flyers are at the mercy of whichever airline provides the service. 

To read the complete Rome2rio data, click here.

World's top 5 cheapest airlines

1. Scoot
2. Jetstar Airways
3. Aeroflot
4. Tiger Airways
5. AirAsia

Australia's cheapest airline for domestic flights

1. Tiger Airways
2. Jetstar Airways
3. Virgin Australia
4. Qantas Airways
5. Regional Express

See also: World's best airline for 2016 named: Skytrax awards

See also: Is North Korea's Air Koryo really the world's worst airline?

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