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Qantas flights from UK to Australia hit 98.6% full

written by Adam Thorn | February 21, 2023

Twitter user Chris Harrison snapped this photo of -OQD on approach to Heathrow Airport.

Qantas flights from the UK to Australia were 98.6 per cent full in October – likely making it one of the most successful flights in the airline’s history.

The high ‘seat utilisation’ is due to pent-up demand from passengers to travel post-pandemic, combined with international airlines offering far fewer seats for sale now compared to 2019.

The figure in October follows a similar percentage of 98.2 per cent in September and 96.2 per cent in July.

On Tuesday, Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said, “While passenger numbers have increased since our border reopened, frustratingly, the recovery is being impacted by the lack of capacity on key overseas routes.

“In January, the number of U.S and U.K. travellers was still only three-quarters of what we saw pre-COVID, while the number of passengers from previously popular European countries like Germany and France was even lower.


“With the border to China reopening earlier this year, we anticipate the number of Chinese travellers to increase significantly throughout 2023, especially with more capacity returning to key routes.

“Australia also needs a sustained recovery in aviation capacity to support the recovery of key export markets including high-value agriculture, business travel, and international students.”

Australian Aviation reported last month how international airlines made little effort to increase capacity into Australia in October, with the number of seats for sale still 42 per cent down on the same month pre-pandemic.

That number is only 2 per cent better than the figures recorded the previous month, suggesting Australia’s recovery is badly stalling.

New BITRE figures released by the Department of Transport also showed overall seat utilisation that month was 86 per cent across all airlines and routes.

“International scheduled passenger traffic in October 2022 was 2.174 million,” read the latest report. “International passenger traffic continues to be severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Passenger traffic was 46,145 in October 2021 and 3.587 million in October 2019.

“Total seats made available on international scheduled operations to/from Australia during October 2022 were 2.584 million – a decrease of 42.3 per cent compared to October 2019.

“The overall seat utilisation percentage was 82.1 per cent in October 2019 and 8.7 per cent in October 2021. It has increased to 86.1 per cent in October 2022.

“In terms of passenger carriage, Qantas Airways had the largest share of the market in October 2022 with 17.6 per cent of the total followed by Jetstar with 12.3 per cent, Singapore Airlines with 12.1 per cent, Air New Zealand with 10.0 per cent and Emirates with 6.9 per cent.

“The Qantas group – Qantas Airways and Jetstar accounted for 29.9 per cent of total passenger carriage in October 2022. The group’s share was 0.0 per cent in October 2021 and 26.4 per cent in October 2019.

“Australian designated airlines – Qantas Airways, Jetstar and Virgin Australia (2.3 per cent) accounted for 32.3 per cent of total passenger carriage in October 2022. Their share was 0.0 per cent in October 2021 and 33.3 per cent in October 2019.”

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