The The Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) welcomes the select committee’s report handed down late yesterday after it featured a range of recommendations which align with the key asks of the ATIA.
Many of the ATIA’s recommendations to the senate select committee’s inquiry into Commonwealth bilateral air service agreements on how Australia’s aviation industry can be reformed to better support consumers have been accepted.The report contains 10 key recommendations, many of which align with key asks in ATIA’s submission and evidence including:
- When making decisions relating to bilateral air service agreements, the Australian Government have regard to a cost benefit analysis, consult widely with key stakeholders including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and publish a statement of reasons for decisions taken.
- Reviewing reform options to strengthen competition in the domestic aviation industry.
- Reinstating Australian Competition and Consumer monitoring of domestic airlines.
- Action to improve airport slot management at Sydney Airport.
- Implementing increased consumer protections for travellers.
The Report also calls for an immediate review of the decision to not allow Qatar additional capacity to fly to Australia.ATIA’s evidence given on the first day of the public hearings, as well as in it’s submission, are quoted a number of times throughout the report – including it’s data showing international airfares from Sydney in 2023 are up to 99 per cent higher than pre-COVID. ATIA’s submission shows that significant price increases have not been confined to a specific class of travel, although the growing popularity of premium economy seating has seen even greater price rises for this category. Some of the highest price increases across classes include:
- Sydney to Hong Kong – Economy –$853 one-way (+81%)
- Sydney to Los Angeles – Economy –$1254 one-way (+67%)
- Sydney to Dubai – Economy –$853 one-way (+64%)
- Sydney to Dubai – Premium Economy – $2224 one-way (+99%)
- Sydney to Doha – Premium Economy – $959 one-way (+72%)
- Sydney to Singapore – Premium Economy – $1057 one-way (+59%)
- Sydney to Doha – Business/First – $3165
ATIA CEO Dean Long appeared before the committee alongside ATIA Vice Chair and Flight Centre Global MD Graham Turner.
“ATIA’s submission highlighted the critical importance of consumers being at the heart of all decisions being made about which airlines fly in and out of Australia and the need for that to be reflected in the legislative and regulatory frameworks which govern Government decisions,” Long, said.“With 70% of all international travel conducted by Australians booked through one of our members, we see first hand where the problems are for travelling Australians and for the travel agents and businesses who support them.” “In the 12 months to August 2023, over 10 million tickets worth nearly $14 billion were issued by Australian travel agents. We know where the pain points are because our members are continually fixing up the problems created by the cancellations and delays and refund/credit issues.” “This is an opportunity to evolve the current approach so that it delivers better outcomes and we look forward to working with Government and the relevant Departments and Authorities on finding a better path forward.”