Remember when low-cost carriers seemed likely to bite into the market share of established airlines and aggressive foreign operators on Australian routes were encroaching on the share held by Qantas? New figures stand all that on its head.

The latest report on international airline activity in Australia shows that year on year, Qantas increased its market share, the share of Singapore Airlines and Emirates decreased and Air New Zealand stayed the same.

The report, compiled by Australia’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Economics (BITRE), covers the month of October 2018 and compares it with the previous October.

Some of the market shifts are marginal but the overall picture is a far cry from what was predicted a decade ago. Moreover, the share enjoyed by low-cost carriers (AirAsia X, Cebu Pacific Air, Indonesia AirAsia, Jetstar, Jetstar Asia and Scoot Tigerair) fell by almost 2% in the year ending 31 October 2018.

In terms of passenger carriage, Qantas Airways had the largest share of the market in October 2018 with 17.8% of the total followed by Jetstar with 8.7%, Singapore Airlines with 8.2%, Emirates with 7.3% and Air New Zealand with 6.9%.

Compared to October 2017, Qantas Airways’ share increased by 1%, Jetstar’s share decreased by 0.4%, Singapore Airlines’ share decreased by 0.2%, Emirates’ share decreased by 0.6% and Air New Zealand’s share remained unchanged.

The Qantas group – Qantas Airways, Jetstar and Jetstar Asia (0.2%) accounted for 26.6% of total passenger carriage in October 2018. The group’s share in October 2017 was 26.4%.

The share of passenger traffic accounted for by Australian designated airlines has increased from 32% in October 2017 to 33% in October 2018. Qantas Airways, Jetstar and Virgin Australia contributed to the Australian airline share in October 2018.

Passenger traffic for the year ended October 2018 was 41.319 million, which is a 5.2% increase over the figure for the year ended October 2017.

Sixty-two international airlines operated scheduled services to/from Australia during October 2018 (includes five dedicated freight airlines but excludes airlines operating only via codeshare arrangements).

International scheduled passenger traffic in October 2018 was 3.547 million compared to 3.370 million in October 2017 – an increase of 5.3%.

Total seats made available on international scheduled operations to/from Australia during October 2018 were 4.534 million – an increase of 3.8% compared to October 2017. The overall seat utilisation percentage (load factor) grew from 79.7% in October 2017 to 80.3% in October 2018. The totals include AirAsia X, China Airlines, Emirates, Qantas and Singapore Airlines passengers travelling through Australian ports.

Low-cost Carriers (LCCs) AirAsia X, Cebu Pacific Air, Indonesia AirAsia, Jetstar, Jetstar Asia and Scoot Tigerair accounted for 14.5% of total international passenger traffic to/from Australia in October 2018. The LCC share in October 2017 was 16.4%.

Edited by Peter Needham