Airlines operated about 83,000 fewer seats on international routes into and out of Australia in August 2019 compared with a year ago, new figures show.
The monthly report on international traffic from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) said there were 4.438 million seats offered on international flights to and from Australia in August 2019, a decrease of 1.9 per cent from 4.525 million in the prior corresponding period.
While capacity was lower, the number of passengers travelling internationally rose 2.9 per cent to 3.569 million in August.
As a result, average load factors on airlines flying international services was up 3.2 percentage points at 82 per cent in August 2019, from 78.8 per cent in the prior corresponding period.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said recently the reduction in international capacity was likely to be a trend for the period ahead.
“Qantas international has seen significant upside from competitor capacity contracting more than anticipated, which is expected to continue for at least the remainder of the first half,” Joyce said in Qantas’s 2019/2020 first quarter trading update published on October 24.
Meanwhile, Jetstar group chief executive Gareth Evans said the Qantas-owned low-cost carrier’s (LCC) international flying out of Australia was going extremely well.
“Australians’ love of travelling overseas continues to be strong,” Evans told reporters in Sydney on November 1.
“Honolulu is challenged to a certain extent just because of the currency, so where the dollar is at the moment makes travelling to the US for leisure more expensive, but we have certainly seen continued strength out to Asia.
“The flip side of the dollar weakness is Australia becomes a very attractive place for inbound. Particularly out of Japan we’ve seen really strong demand.”
Qantas was Australia’s largest international carrier with a 17.3 per cent share of passengers carried, followed by Jetstar at nine per cent and Singapore Airlines at 8.4 per cent.
Virgin Australia ranked fourth at 6.9 per cent.
In terms of specific markets, the BITRE report showed Melbourne-Singapore was the top city pair with 133,634 passengers travelling on the route in August 2019, followed by Sydney-Singapore (129,804) and Sydney-Auckland (112,793)
Finally, the global trade tensions centred on the dispute between China and the United States, has taken an impact on the freight market.
The BITRE report showed the amount of freight carried into and out of Australia in August fell 7.4 per cent to 91,640 tonnes, from 98,992 tonnes in the prior corresponding period.
Singapore Airlines had the largest share of the Australian international freight carried in August 2019 at 16.6 per cent.