Aviation

“Australian aviation growth has ground to a halt”: CAPA chairman

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

The outbound aviation market in Australia has begun to slow down, and may even be trending downwards, according to the emeritus chairman for the CAPA Centre for Aviation, Peter Harbison.

Harbison kicked off CAPA’s 2019 Australia Pacific Aviation Summit with a health check of the aviation industry in Australia, delivering a somewhat grim outlook.

“Fares and routes will stagnate. Domestic will remain profitable particularly Qantas,” he predicted. 

Growth will be away from actually flying aeroplanes and towards selling stuff, not just flying metal.”

Qantas and Virgin Australia’s current focus on refining and revamping their respective loyalty programs is an example of airlines focusing on selling “stuff” rather than just seats, Harbison said.

Qantas’ frequent flyer program alone accounts for around 20 per cent of the airline’s profits, with 30 per cent of Australian credit card holders choosing a Qantas’ frequent flyer credit card program.

Harbison went on to say the key factors feeding into the industry stagnation are the low Aussie dollar and fluctuating oil prices.

Australia will become an inbound destination, rather than outbound which we have been for about 12 years,” he said. 

Speaking later in the morning, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce confirmed Harbison’s comment and said that in the almost 11 years he has been at the helm of our national carrier, this year is the first time he has seen the outbound market take a downward turn.

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