International passenger traffic during January was the highest ever recorded in a calendar month, making it the fifth month in a row to record month-on-month growth greater than nine per cent, according to BITRE.
For the month, there were 2.475 million international passengers, which was an increase of 10 per cent compared to the same time last year. This was aided in part by an increase of 6.2 per cent in available seats, particularly as a result of a growing number of services being operated by low cost carriers, which collectively accounted for 18 per cent of traffic. Seat utilisation increased from 78.6 to 81.1 per cent.
Interestingly, the Qantas Group’s total share of the international passenger market decreased by 2.2 percentage points to 26.4 per cent, which was driven mainly by a decline in passengers on Qantas services. Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific lost market share, while Emirates, Pacific Blue, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia X all gained. Significantly, January marked the first time that AirAsia X ranked in the top 10 international airlines, holding a market share of 2.7 per cent.