Australian domestic market down less than 1% in 2009; Tiger stimulates two Sydney routes

There were a lot of big players like Tiger, Qantas and Virgin Blue in the delightfully promising results from Australia, but also takes its hat off to REX Regional Express, which in September began thrice-daily intra-Queensland flights between Townsville (TSV) and Mackay (MKY) using Saab 340s. Click for the full route launch report.

Despite the difficult global economic conditions in 2009, the Australian domestic air travel market has remained impressively robust with demand down less than 1% in the first 10 months of last year. Traffic was even up in January, April, August and September. The big dip in February is exaggerated by the extra day in 2008. Taking this into account, demand was down less than 2% in February.

Chart: Australian domestic traffic development - Year-on-year change in monthly passengers: 1/06 to 10/09
Source: BITRE

In 2008, domestic load factors were down in every month a trend which has been reversed in 2009. Only in February were planes less full than in the previous year and overall in 2009, almost four in every five seats have been filled.

Image: REX Regional Express at Mackay Airport
The other end of Rex’s Townsville-Mackay route: Mackay’s airport director, Terry Simpson, sent this photo. Qantas competes with REX on this intra-Queensland service.

Tiger stimulate Sydney – Melbourne and Sydney – Adelaide

During 2009, Tiger Airways entered two of the top 10 domestic markets when it began operating from Melbourne to Sydney (on 3 July) and from Adelaide to Sydney (on 31 July). Both of these routes had seen traffic decline since November 2008. However, in August, September and October, traffic has been stimulated by 4.5%, 7.9% and 8.3% on the Melbourne route and by 3.0%, 8.9% and 7.2% on the Adelaide route.

Chart: Top Australian domestic routes - Change in monthly passengers: 1/08 to 10/09
Source: BITRE


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