Australian Air Travel Slowly Returns to Pre-pandemic Levels

Aviation body says air travel in Australia is showing a stable recovery post lockdown.

The Centre for Aviation (CAPA) has shared a report, presented at their recent Australasia-Pacific Aviation Summit in Adelaide, revealing that domestic flight capacity had basically returned to pre-pandemic levels through the April-July period (showing a stable demand since the wave of Omicron in the quarter of 2022).

International travel has been much slower to recover, only peaking at 57% of pre-pandemic seat capacity in July.

CAPA says that whilst these figures are a positive sign, given the havoc of the pandemic, airlines should still be aware of the current staff shortage and disrupted flight crisis that ravages airlines across the industry.

“The market revival is very promising for airlines, they still face some challenges. The most immediate of these is ensuring that a recent spike in service disruptions does not return to derail their progress.” CAPA said in their report.

“One of the immediate concerns has been resolving the system disruptions that have been capturing headlines in recent months, such as cancellations, delays and mishandled baggage. Airlines will need to make sure that these problems have been addressed so they don’t constrain growth rates again.”

Qantas bounces back stronger than its rivals

CAPA has found that Australia’s cornerstone airline Qantas has experienced a greater recovery in international flights compared to its rivals with their seating capacity reaching 65% of pre-pandemic levels.

Qantas flight carrying FIFO workers diverted to Perth following bird strike
Qantas has shown a greater bounce back compared to it’s rivals © The West Australian

This will perhaps come as something for Qantas to boast about, as the airline crawls its way through a mountain of PR nightmares, as we’ve reported extensively here at Travel Radar, experiencing extensive flight delays and cancellations and criticism of the leadership of CEO Alan Joyce.

Pandemic causes tourism shift

The report also revealed a shift in the demographics of international tourists compared to stats pre-pandemic. China’s zero-covid policy, as well as the rising diplomatic tension with Australia, saw the nation drop from the leading source of international arrivals in 2019 (15.2%) to sixth in 2021 (2.7%).

New Zealand (39.8%) and India (17.9%) were the leading sources of international arrivals in 2021.

What are your thoughts on the findings? Let us know in the comments…

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