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Foreign carriers dominate international routes

written by Jordan Chong | August 1, 2014

A Thai Airways A330 lands at Perth. (Rob Finlayson)
A Thai Airways A330 lands at Perth. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas has lost a full percentage point of market share for overseas travellers over the past year as foreign carriers dominate, new figures show.

While the Flying Kangaroo remains Australia’s largest international carrier, the airline’s market share fell to 16.2 per cent in May, from 17.2 per cent a year ago.

In that time, Qantas alliance partner Emirates increased its share of all passengers travelling into and out of Australia to 9.9 per cent, from 9.7 per cent in the prior corresponding period. Consequently Dubai-headquartered Emirates is now Australia’s second largest international carrier, with Singapore Airlines third at 9.3 per cent, up from 8.9 per cent in the prior corresponding period.

The report from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) said the Qantas Group, comprising Qantas, Jetstar and Jetstar Asia, accounted for 24.9 per cent of all international passengers in May 2014, down from 25.1 per cent a year ago.

Qantas dropped Perth-Singapore services in May 2014 and has been replacing Boeing 747-400s with smaller Airbus A330s on some routes to Asia in a bid to reduce costs and stem losses in its international division.

Virgin Australia’s share fell slightly to 8.3 per cent, from 8.5 per cent, while Qantas-owned Jetstar increased its share to 8.0 per cent, from 7.4 per cent.

The BITRE report said there were 2.44 million passengers who travelled into and out of Australia in May, up 7.4 per cent from a year ago.


Almost seven out of every 10 overseas travellers were flying on non-Australian flag carriers, the BITRE report said.

And low-cost carriers were continuing to grow market share, capturing 16 per cent market share in May, up from 13.9 per cent.


  • Ron


    I don’t think this is necessarily a bad reflection on Qantas. Looking at it perhaps logically, if there are more people living outside of Australia (7+ billion) than there are living in Australia (23 million), it stands to reason that if they’re going to come here, & their own country’s airline flys to Australia, then they’re more likely to use that airline, to both fly in & fly out. To me, the fact that 7 out 10 international passengers don’t fly on an Australian carrier is simply a reflection of the fact that 7 out of 10 international passengers aren’t Australian either. We’re a small fish in a big pond & we have to respect their right to use their own nationality airline. Make sense?

  • Adam


    Hey Ron, I totally agree with your sentiment…take any country and their home airlines are competing with international airlines…how many people travel to USA on american carriers, how many travel to UK on british airlines, how many travel to Japan on Japanese carriers…consumer choice gives people the ability to choose who they like and its totally granted that with a vast number of connections into and out of Australia, an incredibly diversity of nationalities that live here and the attraction of Australia as a destination is to many people, its certainly understandable that the loads are shared around

  • Adrian


    Not necessarily Ron, I was born in the UK and have flown in and out of Australia on the following
    Britannia Airways
    Cathay Pacific
    Korean Air
    Royal Brunei
    but never British Airways because they were busy competing for the business traveler.
    Some air,lines remember todays backpacker could be tomorrows business traveler.

  • beryl


    Still try and fly Qantas when i can, but it is not always possible it’s still a great airline.

  • Andre Laoh


    Both Emirates and Singapore Airlines comes from Countries with small home populations but ranked second and third in market share rankings. A reflection of customer choice on a good product .

  • Murray Heldon


    Qantas destroyed the A380 by putting in extra economy seats upstairs. Now they are putting in slimline toilets to add 3 more rows to the 737. What about doing something for the passengers – like adding disabled toilets, instead of cramming in more seats all the time.

    Make people prefer to fly you is much better than selling extra cheap seats

  • Adam


    Murray, passengers want cheap fares…thats clearly evident and when given the choice there just arent enough people willing to pay a premium to have extra space on planes which needs to be accounted for to make a solid business case. Otherwise all airlines would be flying round with 40 inches of leg room in economy! And just so you know, there are definately ample disabled toilets on the A380..and I suggest you go fly with international carriers elsewhere on a similar flight length to Qantas and then compare the 2, I have done so and can undoubtedly say that Qantas is my preferred carrier for what they give to us passengers 🙂

  • Paul


    It would be interesting to see the demographic data of country of residence flying on the international carriers.

  • Paul


    I feel Qantas became complacent, from CEO down to cabin staff. Wrong planes wrong staff, I will try and use Qantas to the end but find it harder to defend them to family and friends. I now find myself on dirty planes with cabin crew who you feel really don’t want to be there. I am ashamed to say my Kris flyer points are becoming greater than my Frequent Flyer points.

    They do not need to reinvent themselves just go back to there heritage and ethos built up over generations. Show us Australian engineers working on a plane, cabin crew laughing being led by a grey haired Pilot and the planes would be full.

  • Dr Peter


    I always try and fly Qantas but am often tempted by other great airlines such as Cathay And Singapore.
    The reason I still stick to Qantas is the fact that I consider it has the best pilots in the world. Nothing else really matters at 35’000 feet.

  • Bob Cleworth


    Qantas is good and if possible I will fly with them. my last trip was with Singapore, British Airways ( an enjoyable flight) a short hop from Istanbul to UK, I took QANTAS from Sydney to Perth – all flights were good – I travel economy and spend my extra dollars on good overnight stops doing the long haul these days at age 80 is for the birds

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