And the World’s Cheapest Airline is…

And the World’s Cheapest Airline is… | Illustration

The 2018 Global Flight Price Ranking, produced by travel planning website Rome2rio, considered economy class airfares from January and February of this year to determine the average cost per kilometer for flights on airlines around the world.

The results showed the 50 cheapest airlines overall, the cheapest airlines for international and domestic routes, and the countries where flying is cheapest by distance.

Across the board, Tigerair Australia was the world’s cheapest at only $0.06 per kilometer, followed by AirAsia X ($0.07), Indonesia AirAsia ($0.08), Jetstar ($0.09), and Etihad ($0.10) rounding out the top five.

Tigerair Australia. Image: Australian Aviation
Tigerair Australia. Image: Australian Aviation


Citilink Indonesia, WOW Air, Oman Air, Lion Mentari Airline and Ryanair also came in with a cost of $0.10 per kilometer. No U.S. airlines were in the cheapest 50 airlines, which all came in at $0.14 or less.

World's 25 cheapest airlines (by price per kilometre travelled in $US)

  1. Tigerair Australia 0.06
  2. AirAsia X 0.07
  3. Indonesia AirAsia 0.08
  4. Jetstar 0.09
  5. Etihad 0.10
  6. Citilink Indonesia 0.10
  7. WOW air 0.10
  8. Oman Air 0.10
  9. Lion Mentari Airlines 0.10
  10. Ryanair 0.10
  11. Qatar Airways 0.11
  12. Kuwait Airways 0.11
  13. Royal Brunei Airlines 0.11
  14. Virgin Australia 0.11
  15. Thai Vietjet Air 0.11
  16. Batik Air 0.11
  17. SriLankan Airlines 0.11
  18. Gulf Air Bahrain 0.11
  19. Jet Airways 0.11
  20. Qantas 0.11
  21. IndiGo Airlines 0.11
  22. Air India Limited 0.11
  23. Emirates 0.11
  24. Thai Lion Mentari 0.11
  25. PT. Sriwijaya Air 0.11


AirAsia. Image:
AirAsia. Image:

A staggering 24 of this year’s top 30 most affordable international airlines are based in Asia or the Middle East, with AirAsia X ($0.07 per kilometer), Air India Express and Indonesia AirAsia (ticket prices for both are $0.08 per kilometer) forming the three leading players in this category.

The world's cheapest international carriers

  1. AirAsia X 0.07
  2. Air India Express 0.08
  3. Indonesia AirAsia 0.08
  4. Primera Air 0.09
  5. IndiGo Airlines 0.10
  6. Etihad 0.10
  7. Ryanair 0.10
  8. Qantas 0.10
  9. WOW air 0.10
  10. Virgin Australia 0.10
Citilink. Image:
Citilink. Image:


In domestic travel (meaning domestic flights for that airline, depending on where it is based), the cheapest airlines by kilometer were Tigerair Australia, Jetstar, Indonesia AirAsia, JetSMART, and Indonesia AirAsia Extra.

The countries with the cheapest average prices by distance, according to the study, were Chile, Indonesia, Turkey, India, Bulgaria, Thailand, and South Africa.

“Since our 2016 report, we have seen some significant shifts in pricing and ranking,” said Kirsteene Phelan, chief operating officer at Rome2rio to Travel Pulse.

“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.”


Indah Gilang Pusparani

Indah is a researcher at Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Penelitian dan Pengembangan Daerah Kota Cirebon (Regional Development Planning and Research Agency of Cirebon Municipality). She covers More international relations, tourism, and startups in Southeast Asia region and beyond. Indah graduated from MSc Development Administration and Planning from University College London, United Kingdom in 2015. She finished bachelor degree from International Relations from University of Indonesia in 2014, with two exchange programs in Political Science at National University of Singapore and New Media in Journalism at Ball State University, USA. She was awarded Diplomacy Award at Harvard World Model United Nations and named as Indonesian Gifted Researcher by Australian National University. She is Researcher at Regional Planning Board in Cirebon, West Java. She previously worked as Editor in Bening Communication, the Commonwealth Parliament Association UK, and diplomacy consulting firm Best Delegate LLC in USA. Less
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