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Cebu Pacific Air becomes latest airline to put pressure on Qantas’ international network

Touchdown! Cebu Pacific Air became the latest carrier to venture into the Australian air travel market when it arrived in Sydney on 9 September from Manila. The Philippine carrier will operate four weekly flights using its growing fleet of A330-300s.

Demand for air travel within Australia has grown by just 1.0% to 57.7 million passengers in the year ending June 2014. The country’s international air travel sector showed rather healthier growth, up 6.8% to 31.4 million in the same period. Double-digit international growth was reported in both January and April 2014, with the re-timing of Easter being a likely contributing factor in the latter month.

Among the country’s top 10 domestic routes, eight reported growth in the year ending June 2014 (the latest available data), with Melbourne-Adelaide (+6.0%) leading the way, and only Melbourne-Gold Coast (-1.3%) and Melbourne-Perth (-1.0%) reporting declines. 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), but grew by just 1.0% in the last 12 months.

Chart: Australian traffic development - Year-on-year change in passengers: 1/06 to 6/14

Source: BITRE.

New domestic routes launched in the last few months include new routes from Tigerair Australia (Sydney-Adelaide, Sydney-Proserpine, Brisbane-Adelaide, Brisbane-Cairns, Brisbane-Darwin), as well as Qantas (Brisbane-Port Macquarie, Sydney-Hervey Bay, Sydney-Hamilton Island), REX (Sydney-Armidale) and Jetstar Airways (Gold Coast-Mackay, Melbourne-Ayers Rock).

International traffic up almost 7% in last 12 months

For the year ended June 2014, international traffic was up 6.8%. Sydney leads the way with 13.2 million passengers (up 4.9%), followed by Melbourne with 7.7 million (up 9.7%) and Brisbane with 4.8 million (up 6.3%). Perth reported 8% growth to just over four million international passengers, while Adelaide reported an impressive 28% increase to just over 900,000. Since March 2009 international traffic has grown year-on-year every month with the solitary exception of March 2011. Significant new international services launched in the last six months to/from Australia include:

According to the latest BITRE figures for June 2014, Qantas has just 15.8% of the international market followed by Emirates (9.6%). Singapore Airlines is in third place with 8.9%. Combining Qantas and Jetstar Airways 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 share from 3.0% in June 2013 to 4.6% in June 2014.


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