The demand for air transport is largely determined by the spending capacity of customers. This paper aims to offer more insight into the determinants of price elasticities in the aviation sector. It seeks to indentify both common and contrasting factors that influence the price elasticities, on the basis of a comparative analysis among a large number of empirical studies in this field. By means of meta-analytical methods, the relative importance of several driving forces such as distance, type of ticket and the nature of study is investigated. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.