Australian domestic air travel declining; international traffic up as Air China, Cebu Pacific Air, SilkAir and United Airlines add routes
Latest government statistics show that demand for domestic air travel in Australia has declined by 0.8% to 57.3 million passengers in the year ending May 2015. The country’s international air travel sector showed rather healthier growth, up 4.6% to 33.7 million in the same period. Double-digit international growth was reported in March 2015, with the re-timing of Easter being a likely contributing factor.
Among the country’s top 10 domestic routes, six reported growth in the year ending May 2015 (the latest available data), with Melbourne-Hobart (+4.6%) leading the way. Melbourne-Perth, the country’s sixth busiest domestic route, has experienced a 2.9% reduction in demand, while passenger numbers on the Sydney-Perth route (the eighth busiest) were down 2.0%. With over 8.4 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 2.1% in the last 12 months.
International traffic up almost 5% in last 12 months
For the year ended May 2015, international traffic was up 4.6%. Sydney leads the way with 13.5 million passengers (up 2.0%), followed by Melbourne with 8.4 million (up 9.9%) and Brisbane with 5.1 million (up 6.7%). Perth reported 3% growth to almost 4.2 million, while Adelaide reported 7% growth to almost 950,000. 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 12 months to/from Australia include:
- Cebu Pacific Air: Manila (MNL) to Sydney (SYD) on 9 September 2014, with four times weekly A330-300s.
- United Airlines: Melbourne (MEL) to Los Angeles (LAX) on 26 October 2014, six times weekly with 787-8s.
- Jetstar Airways: Gold Coast (OOL) to Wellington (WLG) on 12 December 2014, thrice-weekly with A320s.
- Jetstar Airways: Gold Coast (OOL) to Queenstown (ZQN) on 13 December 2014, thrice-weekly with A320s.
- Jetstar Airways: Brisbane (BNE) to Honolulu (HNL) on 16 December 2014, twice-weekly with A330s.
- Indonesia AirAsia Extra: Melbourne (MEL) to Denpasar (DPS) on 18 March 2015, five times weekly with A330s.
- Jetstar Airways: Cairns (CNS) to Denpasar (DPS) on 29 March 2015, thrice-weekly with A320s.
- Jetstar Airways: Melbourne (MEL) to Wellington (WLG) on 30 March 2015, four times weekly with A320s.
- Jetstar Airways: Gold Coast (OOL) to Nadi (NAN) on 31 March 2015, thrice-weekly with A320s.
- SilkAir: Cairns (CNS) to Singapore (SIN) to 30 May 2015, thrice-weekly with 737-800s.
- Air China: Melbourne (MEL) to Beijing (PEK) on 1 June 2015, four times weekly with A330s.
- Qantas: Perth (PER) to Singapore (SIN) on 26 June 2015, five times weekly with 737-800s.
- Qantas: Sydney (SYD) to Tokyo Haneda (HND) on 31 July 2015, daily with 747-400s.
- Qantas: Brisbane (BNE) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) on 1 August 2015, daily with A330-300s.
According to the latest BITRE figures for May 2015, Qantas has just 16.1% of the international market followed by Emirates (10.3%). Qantas’ low-cost subsidiary Jetstar Airways is in third place with 9.6% followed by Singapore Airlines with 8.7%. Combining Qantas and Jetstar Airways still gives the Qantas Group of airlines only just over one-quarter of the Australian international market.