Riding the wave – warm front helps boost Australia’s international connectivity during winter 2018

Very warm days and cool nights produced warm mean temperatures for winter 2018 in Australia and delivered its the fifth-warmest winter on record. All regions observed above average mean temperatures and the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales were amongst the ten warmest on record for the season. That warm front also extended to the country’s connectivity with international departure seats rising +3.1% across the winter period, versus the same period in 2017.


Summary:

  • A relatively warm winter in Australia extended to the country’s connectivity with international departure seats rising +3.1% versus winter 2017;
  • Almost 500,000 additional one-way international seats were on offer to and from Australia during the summer hemisphere winter schedule;
  • The largest addition of non-stop capacity was between Australia and Qatar with almost 140,000 more seats during schedule, a +42.4% growth versus winter 2017.

Almost 500,000 additional one-way international seats were on offer to and from Australia during the summer hemisphere winter schedule from the end of Mar-2018 through to the end of Oct-2018. This equates to over 2,200 more international seats per day both in and out of the country versus the same period in 2017 and included new non-stop links into Sri Lanka and, of course, the new landmark Qantas service linking Australia to the United Kingdom.

Analysis by The Blue Swan Daily of OAG schedule data for the full season shows that despite a -4.8% fall in capacity, New Zealand remains the largest international market from Australia in terms of available seats, albeit second place Singapore has closed the gap versus winter 2017 with a +4.3% growth. This was mainly due to Qantas switching its Sydney – London flight via Singapore rather than Dubai; the latter, the third largest country market from Australia by capacity, seeing a -5.2% decline in seats.

CHART – New Zealand still heads the largest international markets from Australia by capacitySource: The Blue Swan Daily and OAG

It is once again the rise of China that grabs the attention with non-stop seat capacity from Australia rising by +9.9% during the winter schedule and seeing it overtake Indonesia as the fifth best connected country from Australia. This was buoyed by new flights to China from Cairns and Darwin, plus growth across the Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney markets. Japan also saw a +9.9% rise in capacity from Australia thanks to improved connectivity from Melbourne and Sydney.

The largest addition of non-stop capacity was between Australia and Qatar with almost 140,000 more seats during the winter schedule versus 2017, a +42.4% growth. Double-digit rises capacity were also recorded from Australia to Taipei (+59.4%), Canada (+15.7%) and the smaller markets (in terms of capacity) of Vanuatu (+18.8%), Chile (+55.8%), India (+14.3%), Samoa (+59.4%) and Nauru (+33.0%).

CHART – Qatar saw the largest rise in additional non-stop seats from Australia in winter 2018, but it remains the eleventh largest country market by capacitySource: The Blue Swan Daily and OAG

Looking ahead across the recently launched summer schedules, we see increased Trans-Tasman competition boosting departure seats to New Zealand by +8.1%, based on planned schedules through to the end of Mar-2019. The data also shows that China will overtake UAE as the third largest non-stop summer market from Australia with an expected capacity rise of +4.8% during summer 2018/2019. Other major markets from Australia with increasing summer connectivity include Singapore, USA, Indonesia and Malaysia, but the UAE and Thailand will both see reductions in capacity.