Australian airfares decline as flights in the country return to pre-pandemic capacity.

Just over four years since the global pandemic halted air travel, recent data from Flight Centre indicates that both domestic and international airline capacity in Australia has returned to 2019 levels. Despite this recovery, airfares continue to decrease.

Flight Centre gathered these milestone figures from its FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller branches. Melissa Elf, Flight Centre Corporate Global COO, notes, “we’re seeing this directly correlate to decreasing airfares, which is great news for our corporate travelers, who rely on travel to keep their businesses ticking and win new work.”

An analysis of key international routes for Australian travelers highlights a significant trend, with fares on some routes dropping by up to 25%. With increased capacity and competition in the market, this downward trend in airfares is expected to persist throughout the remainder of the year.

While some countries still lag in their international and domestic capacity, others have seen a resurgence, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Australia’s international capacity stands at an impressive 95%, with expectations for further growth in the coming months. International seat capacity out of Perth now stands at 111%, while Sydney is nearing full capacity at 97%.

However, airline capacity varies compared to 2019. Qantas is still catching up, with not all of its A380 superjumbos back in service, while Virgin Australia has discontinued its long-range international flights to Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines are steadily rebuilding their Australian networks.

Meanwhile, several international airlines are expanding their reach, including US carriers American Airlines and Delta, alongside new entrants such as Turkish Airlines and Vietjet. Japan is now listed at 130% of pre-pandemic capacity for flights from Australia, with Qatar at 109%, while the UK has stabilized at 100%. Singapore is just below at 96%, and Hong Kong is at 63% due to a shortfall in flights from both Cathay Pacific and Qantas.

Elf anticipates that Australia’s international capacity will “tick up to 98% next month and hover around that mark for the next six months.”

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