Air New Zealand surpasses all Australian carriers to become the biggest International Airline of Australia!
Air New Zealand is now Australia’s biggest international carrier. This is as a result of the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble and Qantas ceasing most of its international operations.
New analysis of data released by the Department of Transport reveals the Kiwi flag carrier was responsible for 49% of all international passengers arriving or departing from Australia in May – compared with just 22.6 per cent for Qantas.
- The next two highest-ranking carriers were Jetstar (6.7 per cent)
- Singapore (5.7 per cent).
In total, there were 214,246 passengers leaving or arriving in the country in May 2021.
Qantas and Virgin Australia
The bizarre situation is a result of both Qantas and Virgin ceasing all commercial international operations other than those crossing the Tasman.
Last year, Qatar Airways was at one stage the biggest, after its share of international passengers carried leapt from just 3 per cent to 44.5% in April 2020.
All the figures are compiled by the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE), the official source of aviation statistics.
It comes after Australian agencies reported earlier this week that American became the first international airline to pull out of Australia.
This was following the government’s decision to lower arrival caps from 6,070 passengers a week to just 3,035.
International Flight suspension
An update to the business’ schedule revealed LA-Sydney flight AA73 would be suspended from 31 August until 29 October.
The 787-9 return, AA72, has also been withdrawn from 3 September until 31 October.
The ministry’s decision
The developments follow national cabinet’s decision earlier this month to halve the caps in a bid to reduce leakages of COVID out of hotel quarantine.
The move was widely expected given American confirmed last week it would be flying 20 empty aircraft from LA to Sydney over the next two months.
In April 2021, 45 international airlines operated scheduled services to or from Australia, with international passenger traffic down 96.8 per cent on the corresponding month in 2019.
The industry body representing international carriers had earlier warned 18,000 Australians would be bumped off flights due to the country’s arrival caps lowering.
“That’s just the maths,” said Barry Abrams, the executive director of the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia (BARA).
“All of them will have legitimate and genuine reasons why they can return on those flights; it will be a very stressful situation for everybody.”
Department of Foreign trade and affairs
More than 34,000 Australians abroad are currently registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to return home.
- Although more than 300,000 citizens and residents made it back since the start of the COVID crisis.
To compensate, the federal government has promised to fund more Qantas 787 repatriation flights. And, it announced South Australia would host the two-week trial of home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals into the country.
Lowering of passenger capacity
However, previously revealed how the lowering of the caps causes flights between London and Sydney to sell for more than $43,000.
The developments come after state and federal leaders agreed on a pathway out of the COVID pandemic, which will see for “phases” of response until life returns to normal.
The pandemic phase in globe
During the current phase one focused on:
- Arrival caps will reduce by 50% from 6,070 passengers a week to just 3,035.
The arrival caps will then return to their current levels in phase two, with larger caps for vaccinated travellers.
Phase two will begin when a specific target of vaccinations has been reached, which will be decided by “scientific evidence”.
In this phase, lockdowns will only be used in extreme circumstances and vaccinated citizens will face eased restrictions. More students and skilled migrants will likely be welcomed, too.
In the third phase, the virus will be managed like any other infectious disease.
In Phase four the world would see the country return to normality.
July 2020 to Jan 2021
Arrival caps were introduced in July 2020 and initially sat at 4,000, before increasing to 6,500 at the end of 2020. And, then decreasing to just over 4,000 in January 2021, before finally returning to more than 6,000 early this year.
The Air bubble pact
Air New Zealand’s position is also likely to be short-lived given the trans-Tasman bubble is now closed to South Australia, Victoria and NSW.
The trans-Tasman bubble has had an interesting and perhaps unexpected effect on the Australiasian aviation industry, with Air New Zealand becoming Australia’s biggest international airline.
Air New Zealand in competition
Figures released by Australia’s Department of Transport show Air NZ carried 49% of all international travellers into and out of Australia. The figures are from the month of May, with Qantas carrying just 22.6 percent.
The big two were followed by Jetstar with 6.7 percent, Singapore Airlines with 5.7% and Qatar Airways with 3.9%.
Covid second wave and passenger decline
A year earlier during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020, Qatar was one of the few airlines that kept flying and carried 34.3% of travellers in and out of Australia.
In total, 214,246 people passed through Australian airports in May 2021, up from 52,989 during the previous May. However, in May 2019, the much larger number of 3,209,929 people flew into or out of Australia.
- The most common route in May was Auckland – Sydney, which was flown by 38,443 passengers.
- Melbourne – Auckland was second with 27,252.
But the biggest story these statistics tell is just how hard aviation and tourism has been hit and continues to suffer from the pandemic, even when looking at the relatively small global region of Australasia.
Airlines which had been flying in and out of Sydney at least once every day now barely register on the international passenger figures.
- American Airlines carried just 1831 passengers in and out of Australia in May, 2021-
- down from 8482 in May, 2019.
- Emirates‘ passenger numbers were just 3975 in May, 2021
- down from 210,046 in May, 2019.
Information Source: Australian Aviation
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