Australia’s international traffic growing at 7%; Qantas share now down at 16% as AirAsia X grows fast among leading carriers

Australia’s international market is up almost 7% in the last 12 months. The fastest-growing airports for international traffic are Adelaide (+25%) and Perth (+9%), though Sydney remains the busiest international airport by far. Perth’s growth was helped by the launch in mid-December of five times weekly flights from Singapore Airlines’ long-haul, low-cost subsidiary Scoot.

Australia’s domestic air travel market grew by a modest 1.8% in 2013 to reach 57.5 million passengers. The country’s international air travel sector showed rather healthier growth, up 5.9% to 31.4 million. In January 2014, international traffic was up an impressive 10.5%, the first double-digit increase since March 2012. How much of this was down to English cricket fans returning home in disgust at their team’s 5-0 thrashing by the home team in the test series is not clear.

Among the country’s top 10 domestic routes nine reported growth in the year-ending February 2014 (the latest available data), with Melbourne-Hobart (+8.5%) leading the way, and only Melbourne-Gold Coast (-4.5%) reporting a decline. With almost 8.3 million annual passengers, the Sydney-Melbourne route remains by far the country’s busiest air route (and one of the busiest in the world), and grew by 1.7% in the last 12 months.

Chart - Australian traffic development Year-on-year change in passengers: 1/06 to 2/14

Source: BITRE

New domestic routes launched in the last few months include several new routes from Tigerair Australia from its Sydney and Brisbane bases, as well as Qantas (Brisbane to Port Macquarie), REX Regional Express (Sydney-Armidale) and Virgin Australia (Melbourne-Hamilton Island).

International traffic up almost 7% in last 12 months

For the year ended January 2014, international traffic was up 6.6%. Sydney leads the way with 13.0 million passengers (up 5.1%), followed by Melbourne with 7.4 million (up 8.1%) and Brisbane with 4.7 million (up 5.6%). Perth reported 9% growth to almost four million international passengers, while Adelaide reported an impressive 25% increase to 825,000. Since March 2009, international traffic has grown year-on-year every month with the exception of March 2011. Significant new international services launched in the last 12 months to/from Australia include:

According to the latest BITRE figures for January 2014, Qantas has just 16.0% of the international market followed by Emirates (9.3%). Jetstar Airways and Singapore Airlines were tied in third place with 8.4% each. Combining Qantas and Jetstar still gives the Qantas Group of airlines less than one-quarter of the Australian international market. The biggest gainer in terms of market share is AirAsia X which has increased its presence from 3.4% in January 2013 to 4.9% in January 2014.


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