Canberra warns of ‚Äúmajor setback”

Canberra warns of ‚Äúmajor setback”
By admin

Imposing capacity conditions on four overlapping Qantas and Emirates trans-Tasman routes would deliver a "major setback" for Canberra and its bid to attract international flights, airport officials have warned.

In a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the airport said the conditions would deter carriers from entering other markets and also add to the growing congestion at Sydney Airport.

The ACCC, in its draft ruling to approve the Qantas/Emirates alliance, said it would impose capacity conditions between Sydney-Auckland, Melbourne-Auckland, Brisbane-Auckland and Sydney-Christchurch, routes which are operated by both carriers.

Canberra's concerns were echoed by Qantas who said the conditions do not recognise the "broader competitive dynamics" of the Tasman.

"In imposing this condition the ACCC is inadvertently impairing Canberra and the broader south-east region of New South Wales from being serviced by direct flights across the Tasman," Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron said.

"We continue to work diligently alongside the ACT Government to attract and deliver international flights to the capital and believe the trans-Tasman market is one of the most viable sectors to establish sustainable direct international flights.

"A decision to tie up airline capacity into other Australian ports would deliver a major setback to introducing international flights to Canberra."

While the ACCC acknowledges that such conditions may deter carriers from entering other routes, the airport said it fails to take into account the detriments that would cause.

Byron urged the regulator to include details of the negative impact when it weighs up the net benefit of the proposed alliance.

He suggested imposing conditions on overall trans-Tasman capacity and where Qantas commences Canberra-Auckland and/or Canberra-Wellington services "this capacity is added to either Sydney-Auckland or Melbourne-Auckland capacity for the purposes of complying with the condition".

Meanwhile, Adelaide Airport has called on the ACCC to allow a concession allowing the reallocation of one aircraft from Sydney to Adelaide.

The reintroduction of Auckland-Adelaide was of "key interest", the South Australian airport said.

"It is our understanding that with the number of carriers serving the Sydney-Auckland route, overall load factors tend to be low," managing director Mark Young said. "In our view a clear opportunity exists to utilise the apparent spare capacity on the daily Emirates A380 (489 seats) which would adequately accommodate the full traffic load of the Qantas B737-800 (168 seats) on all or most occasions."

Such a concession would not lessen capacity from Sydney but deliver "a significant competitive outcome for South Australia", he added.

In its own submission, Qantas called for a total Tasman commitment rather than one that is route specific, and said the four routes identified by the ACCC are "characterised by significant overcapacity".

Under the ACCC proposal, Qantas said it would be unable to launch an Adelaide to Auckland service as it would not have available aircraft.

"This new direct service would only be possible because of the flexibility to utilise Emirates' capacity on Sydney-Auckland services and redeploy a Qantas aircraft for us on this new route," it said.

Qantas added that imposing the route-specific conditions "would pro-competitive expansion on other Tasman routes".

Latest News

  • Cruise
  • News

MSC builds new hospital ship with Mercy Ships

Cruise line MSC has joined forces with Mercy Ships International, through the MSC Foundation and the MSC Group, to build a new hospital ship.  The new purpose-built hospital ship will expand the impact of Mercy Ships’ life-changing surgeries, anaesthetic care and surgical education for future generations of patients and healthcare professionals in sub-Saharan Africa. Chairman […]

  • Aviation

FLIGHT REVIEW: The Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner business class

There are only a few airlines that make you feel right at home as soon as you board and fewer safety videos that leave you with a proud tear in your eye. Call it clever branding, but it really hits home! Highlighting the talented Qantas employees around the world all while promoting their broad international […]

  • News
  • Technology
  • Travel Agents

Traveltek offers travel agents new rapid deploy cruise website

Traveltek has developed an affordable and convenient solution for cruise booking websites, tailored to meet the needs of travel agents. Created with, the easy-to-deploy, customer-facing ‘out of the box’ cruise solution is available as a fully bookable website or a search-only widget and is designed for small businesses with a specific focus on growing […]

  • Tour Operators
  • Travel Weekly TV

What sets Eclipse Travel apart with Africa expert Hilary Dubyk: Travel Weekly TV

Join Hilary and Nancy on the couch in the weeks episode and learn a little more about why Hilary loves ‘the Mother Continent’ so much and why she thinks the expedition cruise space is one of the most exciting to watch in 2024. Hilary is an absolute Africa specialist who has found a home in […]

  • Destinations
  • Tourism

Surge in Australians visiting Japan

The number of Australians visiting Japan in the first quarter of 2024 increased by 46.3% compared to the same period in 2019, new data released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) shows. Visitor numbers in March alone were up a staggering 87.4% compared to March 2019. “These figures are fantastic to see and confirm what […]

  • Cruise
  • Luxury
  • News

Seabourn announces Western Kimberley Traditional Owners as Godparents of Seabourn Pursuit

Seabourn has named Western Kimberley Traditional Owners, the Wunambal Gaambera, as Godparents of the ultra-luxury purpose-built Seabourn Pursuit. It is the first cruise line to appoint Traditional Owners as godparents of a ship. Seabourn Pursuit embarks on its inaugural season in the Kimberley region this June. The naming ceremony will take place on Seabourn Pursuit’s […]

  • Luxury

Malolo Island Resort opens brand new Spa

Fiji’s Malolo Island has added another string to its bow – opening its $1.3 million day spa on Thursday, 18th April 2024. (Lead Image: matriarch Rosie Whitton with spa staff) Located at the edge of the resort’s luscious patch of tropical rainforest, the new “Leilani’s Spa” adds another level of elevated experiences to Malolo’s already […]