Jetstar, Tiger and Virgin Blue helping to stimulate Melbourne – Gold Coast market to new level

Image: The launch of Tiger Airways flights to the Gold Coast has served to strengthen competition with Australian carriers Virgin Blue and Jetstar for services between Coolangatta and Melbourne
The launch of Tiger Airways flights to the Gold Coast has served to strengthen competition with Australian carriers Virgin Blue and Jetstar for services between Coolangatta and Melbourne.

The 1,330 kilometre route between Melbourne Tullamarine airport (MEL) and Gold Coast airport (OOL) at Coolangatta is the fastest growing major route in Australia in 2008 with passenger numbers up over 30% in the first nine months. This is down to Tiger Airways starting thrice-daily flights last November in competition with Jetstar and Virgin Blue. Last year anna.aero analysed fares when Tiger first came on the route. This week we return to the route to see how one-way fares from Melbourne to Gold Coast vary by airline and departure time for three specific departure dates.

Chart: Melbourne - Gold Coast one-way fares
Source: Airline websites on Thursday 11th December. All fares include taxes and fees and baggage cost for one bag.
Note: AUD 1 = € 0.50 = GBP 0.44 = US$ 0.66 (Source: www.xe.com)

For imminent travel three of Jetstar’s six daily flights this Friday are already sold out. Tiger is much cheaper on its three flights with only Virgin Blue’s 11:40 departure from Melbourne coming close in terms of price.

Melbourne - Gold Coast one-way fares
Source: Airline websites on Thursday 11th December. All fares include taxes and fees and baggage cost for one bag.
Note: AUD 1 = € 0.50 = GBP 0.44 = US$ 0.66 (Source: www.xe.com)

For departures on Friday 2 January the average fare across all airlines is just over AUD 300 with a low of AUD 200 (with Tiger) and a peak of AUD 435 (with Virgin Blue). Virgin Blue’s average fare (across its four flights) is AUD 360, compared with AUD 295 for Jetstar and AUD 245 for Tiger.

Chart: Melbourne - Gold Coast one-way fares
Source: Airline websites on Thursday 11th December. All fares include taxes and fees and baggage cost for one bag.
Note: AUD 1 = € 0.50 = GBP 0.44 = US$ 0.66 (Source: www.xe.com)

For departures on Wednesday 18 February the average fare across all airlines has now fallen dramatically to just AUD 80, with a low of AUD 69 (with Jetstar on all five of its flights) and a peak of AUD 110 (with Tiger). Virgin Blue’s average fare (across its five flights) is AUD 83, compared with AUD 69 for Jetstar and AUD 99 for Tiger.
The evidence suggests that any of the three airlines may be the cheapest depending on the day of departure and when on that day travel is required.

Image: Terminal
The AUD 100 million redevelopment of the Gold Coast Airport terminal is underway. It will see the terminal double in size to 28,700sqm, with completion scheduled for March 2010.

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