Cheap flights: Competition and border optimism drive airfares down, ACCC flags
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, more airlines and the reopening of borders are the catalyst for an airfare bonanza.
In its latest Airline Competition in Australia report, the ACCC found that greater optimism among Australians about keeping state and territory borders open boosted confidence to fly, while a choice of four airlines on the country’s busiest routes appears to be putting downward pressure on airfares. .
However, initial benefits with fares as low as $69 between capitals appear to be limited to eastern states.
Soon, the five main Australian routes connecting Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and the Gold Coast will be served by four airlines.
“Rex’s continued expansion is welcome news for the millions of travelers who will soon have a choice of Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin or Rex on Australia’s five busiest routes,” said the chairman of the company. ACCC, Rod Sims.
“We have already seen significant reductions in airfares due to increasing competition on key intercity routes, and we expect there will be further downward pressure on prices as airlines compete passengers,” Mr Sims said.
Rex has yet to announce its plans for Perth, while new start-up Bonza will announce its intentions tomorrow.
“Bonza’s announced entry as a new independent low-cost carrier will no doubt be welcomed by regional communities,” Mr. Sims said.
“As Bonza announces its network, we will be alert to any anti-competitive capacity increases or pricing practices by other airlines in response to new competition.
“With Bonza’s network plans and the launch of new direct regional routes by Virgin, Jetstar and Qantas, consumers will benefit from greater choice, route connectivity and lower airfares.
“COVID-19 had a dramatic impact on the airline industry, but there were positive signs that it was beginning to recover as people booked long-awaited vacations.”
The ACCC said that before booking travel, consumers should carefully review the airline’s terms of purchase to understand whether they are entitled to a refund or other remedy in the event of cancellation due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
He added that consumers should also consider the costs and benefits of buying more flexible fares, which can be more expensive, compared to buying discounted but more restricted fares.