HomeTravelFlyingAirfares have dropped – but at what cost?

Airfares have dropped – but at what cost?

Airfares from Australian carriers may have dropped in recent times, but an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation reveals that flight cancellations and delays are consistently above average, despite falling airfares.

The ACCC discovered that on average revenue per passenger was 13 per cent lower in December 2023 compared to the previous year, taking account of inflation. There was also a clear decline in the service given by the carriers.

“We are conscious of the impact of poor reliability across all classes of passengers. It has been very disappointing for customers and there are many factors that cause it,” said ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb. “The industry is out of the recovery phase, but it’ll be interesting to see which of the changes [from pre-COVID-19] are permanent.

“We do therefore see a financial capacity to have more investment in factors such as numbers of pilots, pilot training and aspects that are seen to be contributing factors to poor reliability measures,” she added.

Rex the best performer

The rate of flight cancellations exceeded the long-term average of 2 per cent. The delay frequency was a significant 35 per cent, far higher than its typical average of 19 per cent.

Bonza topped the chart with a near 20 per cent of flights cancelled due to regulatory approval obstacles. Virgin Australia followed with 8 per cent, Jetstar with 6 per cent, Qantas with 4 per cent. Rex was the best performer, with just a 1 per cent cancellation rate.

Rex recently extended its capacity drop because of resource shortages and supply chain barriers.

A Qantas spokesperson said the group’s objective was to improve services and the timing of flights.

“Qantas and Jetstar have worked hard to reduce delays and cancellations, which we know frustrate our customers,” the spokesman said.

“While our reliability has improved, we know there is still more work to do.”

Currently, Qantas and Virgin handle 91 per cent of the flights in Australia. Qantas group operates approximately 60 per cent of these.

Ms Cass-Gottlieb suggested that Qantas and Virgin should invest in improving their customer service and performance, considering the revenue they’ve earned in the past year.

Have you noticed a drop in service and/or product offerings from Qantas or Virgin? Which airline do you think provides the best overall service? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also read: Five top tips for travelling as an introvert


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