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ACCC Warns Against Qantas-Virgin Duopoly

 |  June 4, 2023

The Australian consumer watchdog is suggesting that the federal government create an independent dispute resolution ombudsman to handle conflicts between passengers and airlines. They point out that limited competition in the industry has led to high airfares and inadequate customer service.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its final monitoring report of Australia’s airline industry, suggesting an overhaul of Sydney Airport’s demand management scheme to improve access for new and expanding airlines, as previously recommended by the 2021 Harris review.

Read more: The ACCC’s Ongoing Digital Platforms Services Inquiry: Regulatory Reform

According to Gina Cass-Gottlieb, the chair of ACCC, there is a need for more effort to enhance competition in the local airline industry.

“We need more competition. We think we’re poised where that’s a possibility due to the entry and expansion of Regional Express (Rex) and the entry of Bonza, but they’re both at a low level. More competition would put pressure on price, service and reliability, but we need to remove some barriers to allow that,” she said.

The Australian government requested the ACCC to monitor airline competition and pricing for a three-year period starting in June 2020. The final report, one of twelve, states that despite the presence of four carriers, the market is still dominated by a Qantas-Virgin Australia duopoly.