Domestic airfares could return to pre-COVID prices by mid-year, ACCC chair predicts

Domestic airfares could return to pre-COVID prices by mid-year, ACCC chair predicts

Airfares could drop to pre-COVID levels by the middle of the year if airlines continue to increase their amount of domestic flights, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said the watchdog will be tracking carriers in the domestic market as concerns about limited seat availability, flight delays and price hikes dissipate.

Cass-Gottlieb told the Herald Sun that airfares were beginning to even out as airlines increased their services and brought on more staff.

When asked how long it could take before airfares returned to 2019 levels, she replied: “We are hoping to see it come by the middle of the year, with a return to more normal levels of capacity.

“What we’ve faced quite seriously last year was … such pent up demand came back much more quickly than the capacity of the airlines to meet it.

“We’re particularly keen to see that they keep increasing the capacity to be able to meet Australians interest to fly.”

The ACCC chair warned that if prices were to remain high despite other factors returning to normal then that would be “serious anti-competitive conduct” that would have to be taken very seriously.

Cass-Gottlieb welcomed the entry of Bonza to the market, saying that it could potentially lower prices on routes on serviced by Qantas and Virgin.

Featured Image: iStock/stellalevi

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