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Long-haul airfares fall – and as for domestic airfares…

June 22, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Flying long-distance out of Australia was a better deal last year for leisure travellers than flying domestically, latest analysis from Flight Centre shows – and the situation is likely to be the same in 2018.

Travellers paid more for their domestic tickets in 2017, while corporate international fares remained flat and leisure travellers paid on average 4.3% less for their long-haul tickets.

According to the latest 4D Focus-Australia Aviation and Airfare Analysis, compiled by Flight Centre Travel Group’s (FCTG) 4th Dimension Business Travel Consulting division, (purchased) domestic economy corporate and leisure ticket prices rose, on average 3.5% and 8.9% in 2017 respectively.

The report includes a benchmarking study that compares tickets purchased from FCTG’s corporate and retail businesses in 2017 compared to 2016 and 2015 airfares.

General manager of 4D, Felicity Burke, said the ticket increases the business had witnessed during the year in the domestic space had been driven by strong consumer demand, steady tourism growth and gradual increases in carrier published fares.

“Both Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia increased their published airfares during the year, with the largest percentage increases on the economy class restricted airfares,” Burke said.

The carrier-driven increases have pushed the cheaper ‘leisure traveller’ airfares upwards to the range of 2.5% to 8%. Also noted are business class fare increases of between 2% to 8% and economy class flexible fares 2% to 7% during 2017.”

The positive news, she added, was that international economy fares for corporates had remained flat in 2017 and leisure travellers had another year of excellent value, low-priced long-haul fares.

With approximately 62 airlines now servicing the international landscape, Felicity said Australian travellers continued to be “spoilt for choice with carriers, flight frequencies and in-flight product”.

FCTG managing director, Graham Turner, said the golden era of travel continued to shine brightly for travellers.

“Competitive international airfares, new direct flights such as the Perth to London, more frequent services, continually improved in-flight amenities plus unprecedented discounting on some routes are but a few of the positive takeaways from 2017,” Turner said.

“If the price of oil continues to rise this could potentially mean ticket prices may increase in the near term. But we’re still going to see some excellent value across the international and domestic landscape as airlines compete for both the corporate and leisure dollar.”

Qantas’ recent start of non-stop services between Perth and London is the first of new city pairs to be offered by the airline as it welcomes new long-range aircraft to its fleet. Qantas is also targeting ultra-long haul flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York by 2022.

John Simeone, Qantas’ head of business and government sales, said in the report, “We’re seeing growth across all markets including the resources sector and the arrival of new aircraft allows us the chance to open new routes, just like Perth-London.”

The report indicated that Virgin Australia continued to focus on its guests’ travel experience, rolling out Wi-Fi across the majority of its fleet, introducing Melbourne to Hong Kong flights in 2017 and starting Sydney to Hong Kong services in July this year.

Edited by Peter Needham

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