Qantas says yields improved across both its domestic and international operations for a third straight month in November as it maintained capacity discipline at home and benefitted from more benign capacity growth from foreign carriers.
On the domestic front, Qantas said on Tuesday yields – an industry term measuring average airfares per passenger – improved across its domestic Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar operations in October, “reflecting improvements in all three domestic airlines”.
Qantas’s mainline domestic operations, including QantasLink, reduced capacity, measured by available seat kilometres, 4.3 per cent in November, due to smaller Boeing 717s replacing larger 737-800s on certain routes.
However, that pullback in capacity was offset by ongoing growth at Jetstar domestic, which expanded available seat kilometres 2.7 per cent in the month.
Virgin Australia and Tigerair Australia do not release monthly operating statistics.
An indication of improving yields at Australia’s domestic carriers can perhaps be gleaned from the latest data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), which shows all but the cheapest discount tickets were up significantly in December, compared with the prior corresponding period.
The index measuring business class fares was at 89.9 points in December, up about 25 per cent from 71.1 points in the same month a year ago.
It was a similar story with full economy (120.2 points vs 118.2) and restricted economy (77.3 vs 74.8) fares.
Only the best discount category was lower than a year ago at 72.1 points, down from 81.8 points in December 2013.
Moreover, BITRE said capacity, measured by available seats, in the domestic market had risen a just 0.1 per cent in the four months to October, while the total number of passengers carried was up an equally slender 0.3 per cent.
Meanwhile, Qantas’s monthly operating statistics said total international yields across the airline group were higher in November, compared with the prior corresponding period, for an eighth straight month.
Foreign airlines have also noted improving conditions on routes into and out of Australia.
Singapore Airlines said in its monthly traffic figures published on Tuesday passenger load factors – a measure of how full flights are – rose two percentage points to 81.2 per cent for its flights to the South West Pacific region in November “due to better demand and capacity rationalisation”.
Cathay Pacific also pointed to “continuing strong demand” to Australia and New Zealand in its November operating figures.