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ACCC Releases Airline Competition In Australia Report

 |  March 17, 2021

Australia’s domestic airlines are gradually recovering from historically low passenger numbers, but snap border closures continue to create challenges for the industry.

The ACCC’s third Airline Competition in Australia report, released on Wednesday, March 17, shows total passenger numbers for December 2020 were 41% of pre-COVID numbers, up from the 13% of pre-pandemic levels reported in September 2020.

The gradual recovery of the industry over the quarter to December 2020 meant air traffic also started to return to pre-pandemic domestic patterns. While intrastate routes accounted for the vast majority of passengers throughout 2020 because of closed borders, 69% of passengers in December 2020 flew on interstate routes, up from 26% in September 2020.

The return of interstate flying appears to have assisted Virgin most notably as the airline increased its share of total passengers from 20% to 24% over the December quarter. The Qantas Group, consisting of Qantas, Jetstar, and QantasLink, remained dominant with 74% of the market in December 2020.

COVID-19 outbreaks over the normally peak December holiday period set back the projected recovery of the domestic travel market. Airlines cancelled almost one in 10 scheduled flights in December 2020, which is notably higher than previous months and pre-pandemic.

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