Virgin Australia carried more domestic passengers than chief rival Qantas in October as it took advantage of the Flying Kangaroo’s labour troubles.
Virgin saw its domestic passenger numbers surge to 1.51 million, a 7.4 per cent increase over October 2010. Qantas had earlier reported an 11.3 per cent drop in domestic carriage to 1.41 million passengers. The Qantas figure does not include a roughly similar number of passengers carried by subsidiaries Jetstar and QantasLink.
Virgin added some 3000 extra seats on main domestic routes after Qantas announced what proved to be a three-day grounding of its fleet at the end of October. The additional capacity was on top of the 40,000 extra seats Virgin had added to its domestic network for travel between mid-October and January next year.
Virgin said domestic capacity was up 4.6 per cent in October over the previous year, while revenue passenger kilometres increased by 9.3 per cent.
International passenger numbers were down 4.3 per cent. The airline said those numbers were skewed by its withdrawal from the New Zealand domestic market in October 2010 and by the reorganisation of its international network.
For the year through October, Virgin said its domestic passenger numbers were up 4.3 per cent over 2010 while international passengers were down 15.8 per cent.