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Qantas Rome flights hit 98% seats full

written by Adam Thorn | September 29, 2022

A Qantas 787-9, VH-ZND, as shot by Victor Pody

Qantas’ new seasonal service from Rome to Perth has likely become one of the most successful in the airline’s history after it saw 98 per cent of seats full during July.

The Sydney-Perth-Rome flights launched on 22 June with 787-9 Dreamliners and will operate three times a week until 6 October 2022.

New BITRE data from the Department of Infrastructure shows its ‘seat utilisation’ was 97.7 per cent on inbound services and 91.9 per cent on outbound services.

Upon launch, it was also the only direct service between Australia and continental Europe.

Customers were able to combine the Rome flights with the Flying Kangaroo’s double-daily direct flights between Australia and London, meaning they could fly in and out of different cities on one return ticket through to October 2022.


Overall, international passenger traffic in July 2022 was 2.057 million, still significantly down on the 3.736 million in pre-pandemic July 2019.

However, fewer flights resulted in higher capacity across the board, with 85.5 of seats full compared to 82.5 per cent in July 2019.

“In terms of passenger carriage, Qantas Airways had the largest share of the market in July 2022 with 17.1 per cent of the total followed by Singapore Airlines with 12.8 per cent, Jetstar with 12.7 per cent, Air New Zealand with 9.6 per cent and Emirates with 8.5 per cent,” the report stated.

“The Qantas group — Qantas Airways, Jetstar and Jetstar Asia (0.2 per cent) — accounted for 30.0 per cent of total passenger carriage in July 2022. The group’s share was 24.6 per cent in July 2021 and 26.4 per cent in July 2019.

“Australian designated airlines — Qantas Airways, Jetstar and Virgin Australia (2.4 per cent) — accounted for 32.1 per cent of total passenger carriage in July 2022. Their share was 24.6 per cent in July 2021 and 33.0 per cent in July 2019.”

Australia opened its international border in stages, first allowing residents and citizens to fly in November 2021, before opening to students, backpackers, and skilled migrants shortly after. Finally, the country welcomed vaccinated tourists in February before dropping the controversial mandate in July.

While international recovery has been slow, domestic aviation is almost back to pre-pandemic numbers but has been cutting capacity to mitigate delays caused by staff shortages.

“The domestic airline industry carried 4.7 million passengers in July 2022, marking a new high since the pandemic first impacted the industry in early 2020,” said the ACCC in a recent report.

“July 2022 was the fourth consecutive month with more than 4 million passengers flying, representing notable stability for an industry that has endured regular interruptions in recent years.

“Despite the high number of passengers, the July 2022 figure only represented 89 per cent of the number of passengers who flew at that time of year in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

“This was the same as the recovery levels reached in April 2022, but below the recent high in June 2022, which saw passenger numbers reach 97 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels.”

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