When ridiculously high airfares FINALLY come to an end – as Australia travel returns to normal amid dire airline warning
- ACCC closely monitors the cost of domestic tariffs
- The costs of international travel will also fall soon
- Airlines still need to adapt to the post-Covid pandemic world
The skyrocketing cost of domestic flights in Australia should return to 2019 levels in July this year, according to the country’s consumer watchdog, while the cost of overseas travel will also fall.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairperson Gina Cass-Gotlieb said domestic airfare was one of the services they would be watching closely as inflation and rising costs put pressure on household budgets.
The Covid-19 pandemic grounded most flights in 2020, but when travel resumed, ticket prices rose well above their usual levels as airlines struggled to get back to business.
Ms Cass-Gotlieb said as airlines add more domestic flights to their schedules and smooth out their processes to avoid delays and cancellations, airfare costs should begin to normalize.
Australia’s skyrocketing cost of flights is expected to return to 2019 levels in July this year (stock image)
“We hope to see (prices fall) by the middle of the year, with a return to more normal capacity levels,” Ms Cass-Gotlieb told The Herald Sun.
She said the pent-up demand for travel was far greater than the airlines had anticipated and they lacked the capacity to meet it.
“We are particularly excited to see them continue to increase capacity to meet Australians’ interest in flying.”
If passenger capacity did not increase in the first half of this year, Ms Cass-Gotlieb said the ACCC would consider that anti-competitive behavior to be “taken very seriously”.
The addition of a third airline Bonza (photo staff) to compete with Virgin and Qantas on 19 routes should also lower prices
New budget airline Bonza will fly a total of 17 routes, including 13 from its base on the Sunshine Coast (pictured)
She said the addition of a third airline, Bonza, to compete with Virgin and Qantas on 19 routes would also push prices down.
The good news for those who want to go abroad is that international prices will also start to fall soon.
During Christmas, some return tickets from Australia to London cost up to $6,000, putting the destination out of reach for most people.
But starting March next year, the same route will be available for less than $2,000 aboard carriers such as Qantas, Emirates, Etihad and Cathay Pacific.
During the Christmas season, some return tickets from Australia to London cost up to $6,000, putting it out of reach for most people. Pictured: Check-in queue at Sydney Airport
If you’re prepared to make long layovers and arrive in London a day and a half after your departure, a 35-hour trip on Virgin Atlantic, via Los Angeles, can be had for $1,365.
China’s reopening will also reduce fares as larger airlines cut prices to compete with Chinese carriers flying between Australia and Europe.
Qantas hired more than 1,500 new employees between April and September last year, allowing operations to return to normal in the coming months.
The carrier also includes more options. In December, Qantas added new routes from Brisbane to Tokyo, Melbourne to Dallas Fort Worth in Texas and Sydney to the Korean capital of Seoul.
Jetstar had also announced direct flights between Sydney and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands from June.