Behind the "Highest Air Fares" in Memphis



Memphis gets tagged with some bad publicity on dubious merits from time to time, but our reputation for high air fares has been earned fair and square.

As has been widely reported, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics ranks Memphis number one among 100 U.S. airports, with an average fare of $476.22, in the most recent quarterly report. But behind the numbers there are . . . a lot more numbers showing basically the same thing.

Dave Smallen, the media contact for the Bureau, compiled stats on fares for every quarter for the last 16 years. Memphis has been 7-32 percent higher than the national average each quarter. There were two quarters in 2000 when Memphis veered close to the national average, but since then the gap has grown to a comfortable double-digit margin.

Memphis passenger traffic is dominated by Delta, as reported in a Flyer story in November. The second-highest average fares are in Cincinnati, which is also a Delta hub.

Average plane ticket prices are up 30 percent since 2000 and up 9 percent since one year ago.

Memphis ranks 65th in passenger origination and destinations, while Cincinnati is 58th.

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