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International traffic to/from Australia on the rise

Australia’s international traffic is on the rise with the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) reporting a 10.8% year-on-year improvement in international passenger numbers for Sep-2010, to 2.3 million. This follows strong month-on-month growth rates of more than 9% recorded since Sep-2009, except for Apr-2010 and May-2010 where the growth rate was more moderate.

The rise for Sep-2010 came on a 7.3% rise in flights to 12,097. Fifty-two international scheduled airlines operated services to/from Australia during the month, including four dedicated freight airlines but excluding airlines operating only via codeshare arrangements.

International passenger numbers (thousands): Sep-2008 to Sep-2010

Total seats made available on international scheduled operations to/from Australia during Sep-2010 were 2.9 million, an increase of 8.4%. Overall load factor has increased from 77.6% in Sep-2009 to 79.3% in Sep-2010. For Qantas flights to/from Australia the average load factor for the month was 82.3%.  For the same period, Jetstar achieved 80.0%, Pacific Blue 73.3% and V Australia 87.0%.

Qantas maintains majority share of market, but its share is slipping

Qantas remained the largest international carrier by market share, with a 19.2% share. However, this was a decline of 1.0 ppts year-on-year. Combined with Jetstar, which has been increasing its market share over the past 12 months, the group has a market share of 27.4%. This remains a decline from Sep-2009, when the group had a market share of 28.7%. Singapore Airlines (9.0%), Emirates (8.7%) and Air New Zealand (8.0%) rounded out the top international carriers by market share for the month. 

International airline market share in Australia: Sep-2010

Airline

Market Share

Growth

Qantas Airways

19.2%

-1.0 ppts

Singapore Airlines

9.0%

-1.1 ppts

Emirates

8.7%

+1.2 ppts

Jetstar

8.2%

-0.3 ppts

Air New Zealand

8.0%

Stable

Pacific Blue

6.0%

-0.2 ppts

Cathay Pacific Airways

4.9%

-0.2 ppts

Malaysia Airlines

3.9%

+0.2 ppts

Thai Airways International

3.1%

+1.0 ppts

AirAsia X

3.1%

+0.9 ppts

For Sep-2010, Qantas’ international passenger numbers were up 3.7%, 505,000, while Jetstar reported a 3.2% rise in international passenger numbers to 339,000. However, load factor for Qantas’ international services was down 1.3 ppts to 84.7%. Jetstar’s international load factor was up 0.7 ppts to 80.5%.

The results were similar in Qantas’ most recent data, with the carrier reporting a 1.0% year-on-year rise in international passenger numbers for Oct-2010 to 526,000. However, international load factor was down 1.2 ppts for the month to 83.4%. Jetstar reported a 4.4% rise in international passenger numbers to 353,000, with load factor up 1.1 ppts to 77.7%.

Total international yield excluding foreign exchange for the 12 months to Oct-2010 was up 14.2% year-on-year.

Qantas Group passenger number growth (% change year-on-year): Oct-2009 to Oct-2010

Domestically, Qantas’ passenger numbers for Oct-2010 were up 5.2% to 1.6 million, while QantasLink also reported an increase in traffic, up 17.9% to 446,000. For Jetstar’s domestic operations, passenger numbers rose 13.2% to 848,000. Domestic yields for the group were up 0.6%.

Australian carriers and LCCs gaining market share

The share of passenger traffic accounted for by Australian designated airlines rose 0.6 ppts for the period, to 33.9%. The Qantas Group, Pacific Blue (3.8% - excludes services operated under New Zealand designation), Strategic Airlines (0.2%) and V Australia (2.6%) contributed to the Australian airline share in Sep-2010.

LCCs share of the market is also growing, with AirAsia X, Indonesia AirAsia, Jetstar, Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue and Tiger Airways accounting for 19.2% of total international passenger traffic to/from Australia in Sep-2010, up 1.0 ppts.

Traffic on top 10 routes continues to grow

Traffic on the top 10 city pairs grew by 8.7% and accounted for 34.4% of all traffic to/from Australia. Of the top 10 city pairs, the strongest growth occurred on the Denpasar-Perth route, followed by Los Angeles-Sydney, Auckland-Sydney and Singapore-Melbourne. The worst performing route in the top 10 was Auckland-Brisbane, followed by Singapore-Perth and Singapore-Brisbane.     

Top 10 International route pairs to/from Australia

Foreign

Port

Australian

Port

Year ended

Sep-2008

Year ended

Sep-2009

Year ended

Sep-2010

% of

total

% change

(year-on-year)

Auckland

Sydney

1,229,153

1,279,305

1,401,405

5.3%

9.5%

Singapore

Sydney

1,051,412

1,047,560

1,092,801

4.2%

4.3%

Hong Kong

Sydney

 899,258

 927,111

 939,016

3.6%

1.3%

Singapore

Melbourne

 848,835

 852,835

 930,008

3.5%

9.0%

Singapore

Perth

 956,822

 933,398

 917,225

3.5%

-1.7%

Los Angeles

Sydney

 546,809

 637,352

 887,218

3.4%

39.2%

Auckland

Melbourne

 697,213

 762,063

 768,292

2.9%

0.8%

Auckland

Brisbane

 825,181

 807,107

 709,210

2.7%

-12.1%

Denpasar

Perth

 254,253

 378,532

 699,486

2.7%

84.8%

Singapore

Brisbane

 725,732

 697,883

 699,337

2.7%

0.2%

Top 10 City Pairs

 

8,034,668

8,323,146

9,043,998

34.4%

8.7%

Other City Pairs

 

15 399 385

15 464 522

17,278,523

65.6%

11.7%

All City Pairs

 

23 434 053

23 787 668

26,322,521

100.0%

10.7%

Sydney remains the dominant international gateway with 43.0% of all international passengers for the 12 months ended Sept-2010, followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Gold Coast. Passenger numbers for the year ending Sep-2010 grew by 37.4% at Gold Coast, 15.6% at Perth, 14.7% at Melbourne, 9.0% at Sydney and 4.0% at Brisbane.

Australian international airport capacity share: 12 months ended Sep-2010

Freight traffic expanding

International scheduled freight traffic increased by 15.1% to 68 800 tonnes. Inbound freight traffic continues to recover with an increase of 25.0% year-on-year and 16.0% compared with Sep-2008. Inbound freight volumes are now exceeding the levels recorded during the pre-GFC peak. Outbound freight traffic increased by 1.1% year-on-year.

International traffic growth unlikely to slow in near future

The growth in international traffic is unlikely to slow, as a number of carriers are set to launch new routes or increase frequencies to/from the country over coming months, particularly for summer 2010-11.

International route changes to/from Australia

Airline

Origin

Destination

Frequency

Date effective

Aircraft

New

Total

LAN Airlines

Sydney

Auckland-Santiago

1

7

07-Nov-10

n/a

Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong

Sydney

4

28

15-Nov-10

n/a

Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong

Perth

3

10

16-Nov-10

n/a

Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong

Brisbane

1

11

21-Nov-10

n/a

Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong

Cairns

1

7

21-Nov-10

n/a

Air China

Beijing

Melbourne

2

2

02-Dec-10

n/a

Strategic Airlines

Brisbane

Townsville-Denpasar

2

2

03-Dec-10

A320

Solomon Airlines

Honiara

Brisbane

1

4

05-Dec-10

n/a

Jetstar

Darwin

Bali

4

11

16-Dec-10

n/a

Jetstar

Melbourne

Queenstown

2

2

16-Dec-10

A320

Jetstar

Melbourne Tullamarine

Singapore

7

7

16-Dec-10

A330-200

V Australia

Melbourne Tullamarine

Johannesburg

1

3

16-Dec-10

n/a

Jetstar

Gold Coast

Queenstown

2

2

17-Dec-10

A320

Garuda Indonesia

Jakarta

Sydney

4

7

20-Dec-10

A330-200

Indonesia AirAsia

Denpasar

Darwin

7

7

23-Dec-10

n/a

China Airlines

Taipei

Brisbane-Auckland

3

3

02-Jan-11

A330-300

Malaysia Airlines

Kota Kinabalu

Perth

3

3

15-Jan-11

n/a

Jetstar

Darwin

Manila

3

3

09-Feb-11

A320

V Australia

Sydney

Abu Dhabi

3

3

24-Feb-11

B777-300ER

Malaysia Airlines

Kuala Lumpur

Adelaide

6

10

27-Mar-11

B777-200

Hawaiian Airlines

Honolulu

Sydney

3

7

06-Apr-11

n/a

Emirates

Dubai

Sydney

7

21

02-Oct-11

B777-200ER

Discount domestic fares down ahead of Christmas

In comparison, domestic passenger numbers (including regional operations) were up 8.0% for the same month to 4.7 million. For the 12 months ended Sep-2010, domestic passenger numbers are up 4.9% to 52.8 million.

More recently, Australia’s business and full-economy domestic fares were up year-on-year for Nov-2010, while restricted economy and best discount fares were down for the month.

Australian domestic fare index (July 2003 = 100): Nov-2009 to Nov-2010

Best discount fares in particular have fallen, presumably ahead of an increase again in Dec-2010 for the Christmas holidays.

Australian domestic best discount fare index (July 2003 = 100): Nov-2005 to Nov-2010