Virgin-Qantas truce means you can expect to pay higher airfares

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Domestic travellers can expect to pay more for airfares in 2019 and if that doesn’t irk you, the fact that the airlines are spruiking it as a good thing should.

Last week, Virgin Australia’s first-half profits jumped to $73.8 million from just $4.4 million for the same period a year earlier. It hails rising fares as the reason for the bump.

Virgin’s domestic business fares increased by six per cent and its overseas flight fares rose by 3.4 per cent. Tiger, Virgin’s low-cost carrier, reported 14 per cent fare increases which cut its losses by 3.6 per cent to $8.3 million.

Average discount fares on the Melbourne-Sydney route jumped 6.4 per cent between 2016 and 2018. Sydney-Brisbane fares rose 14.1 per cent, Sydney-Perth 14.4 per cent and Melbourne-Gold Coast was up 23.1 per cent.

With the truce called over the capacity war between Virgin Australia and Qantas, travellers can expect fares to rise even more.

Yet despite the imminent price hikes, fares in Australia remain low.

“I remember when Richard Branson came out to launch Virgin Blue [in 1999] he said he wanted $100 fares between Melbourne and Sydney. You can still get that price 20 years later,” said executive chairman with the CAPA Centre for Aviation Peter Harbison.


Have you noticed domestic fares rising? Or have you still been able to find fares that suit your budget?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca


Total Comments: 3
  1. 0

    What is more of a concern to me are the outrageous restrictive terms. My daughter and 4 children made bookings totaling over $4,000 for their first holiday. Scrimped and saved, and took out insurance. Hubby was staying home. But after he had a very bad accident, holiday dates needed to change. However, simply to change, Qantas wanted to charge nearly $1800! Or they could cancel, and put the money as a credit (but still need to charge the change over fees). Problem was, credit was only applicable for 12 months from date of purchase of ticket. Pretty useless when accident happened 10 months after purchase. Looked at Insurance – no, would only cover the ticket holders, not hubby. The accident wasn’t planned, but no – nothing can be done. Cannot transfer to anyone one else, so at this stage, looks like $4,000 down the gurgler… and at a time when hubby not working, that money is needed. My daughter was quite happy to change for at least another 8 months, but who knows how much extra they would have to pay then.
    Grossly unfair because if she does not fly when planned, Qantas will definitely be able to sell the seats and with prices now, make MORE money. They should not be able to get 2 lots of money for the same service.

  2. 0

    Massive airfare rises shows lack of competition and operators behaving like a cartel doing this together. Where is the ACCC – missing again when they should be nipping it in the bud? Where is the Govt with lack of competition in the domestic sector – missing again?

  3. 0

    I fly quite a lot and I always find very reasonable prices with Virgin. Scoot and Tiger are really cheap. I’d rather fly in Aus than in Europe, they would really give you something to learn about.



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