Australian domestic air traffic up less than 1% in 2011; but Tiger bites back with new Sydney base

Nice tiger print Kerrie!! CEO of Sydney Airport, Kerrie Mather, wears the appropriate wardrobe for the news today that Sydney would become Tiger Airways’ second Australian base from July 2012. Tiger Airways CEO, Andrew David, made the announcement that three aircraft would provide “10 additional daily return services,” including four dailies to two new routes to Gold Coast and Brisbane, and two extra dailies to Melbourne. He also announced Tiger will become the official airline for Sydney’s Wests Tigers NRL rugby team.

Domestic air travel in Australia was impacted by a number of events in 2011. An ash cloud from a Chilean volcano in June, the temporary grounding of Tiger Airways in July (followed by its slow rebirth), and industrial action by staff at Qantas in October, all conspired to depress demand in 2011. Despite this, passenger numbers were up 0.6% to 54.3 million, while RPKs (Revenue Passenger Kilometres) grew by 2.3%. Average load factor remained virtually unchanged at 79%.

Australian traffic development Year-on-year change in passengers: 1/06 to 12/11

Source: BTRE

International traffic up 5%; Qantas group has 26% of market

International traffic had a better year with passenger numbers up 5% to 28.1 million. Qantas continued to be the leading airline for international services with 18.2% of the market, followed by Singapore Airlines (9.0%), Air New Zealand (8.3%), Emirates (7.9%), Jetstar (7.8%) and Virgin Australia (6.7%). Air Australia (previously known as Strategic Air) ceased operations in mid-February. In December the airline accounted for 0.6% of international passengers travelling to and from Australia.

Route Pax 2010 Pax 2011 % change
Sydney – Auckland 1,413,704 1,402,893 -0.8%
Sydney – Singapore 1,093,138 1,131,488 +3.5%
Melbourne – Singapore 925,650 1,061,929 +14.7%
Perth – Singapore 909,789 967,350 +6.3%
Sydney – Hong Kong 948,251 939,293 -0.9%
Sydney – Los Angeles 915,247 937,395 +2.4%
Melbourne – Auckland 794,107 900,588 +13.4%
Perth – Denpasar 729,280 806,038 +10.5%
Brisbane – Auckland 707,893 794,141 +12.2%
Brisbane – Singapore 698,111 718,594 +2.9%
All international routes 26,790,315 28,122,367 +5.0%
Source: BTRE

Four routes to Singapore and three to Auckland appear in the top 10 of international city-pairs with one appearance each for Denpasar, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. The top three city-pairs have remained unchanged but Perth – Singapore has jumped from sixth for fourth in 2011. New international services starting at the end of March include AirAsia X launching daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney, and a new thrice-weekly Qantas service from Sydney to Santiago (Chile), which replaces the airline’s service to Buenos Aires.


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