Bargains In The Air As Flight Price War Continues

Bargains In The Air As Flight Price War Continues


RECENT fuel price increases and improved economic conditions have failed to end the airfare price wars that have been taking place in the skies above Australia.

A Flight Centre analysis of advertised international airfares has found that prices have not recovered after the widespread discounting that took place during the global financial crisis.

The company compared 30 international airfares that were advertised from Sydney on May 18, 2011 with advertised fares to the same cities on May 18, 2009, during the height of the discounting, and found that:

  • Half – 15 of the 30 fares – were currently cheaper than two years ago, despite increased oil prices and significant economic recovery
  • Six other fares had increased 10% or less; and
  • Only one advertised fare had increased more than 25%.

The largest increase – 39% – related to a return fare to Los Angeles, a destination that was at the heart of the discounting two years ago following the launch of V Australia’s United States services.

While currently more expensive than the May 2009 price, today’s LA fare remained 20% cheaper than the $1725 advertised price on May 18, 2004.

“For Australian travellers, cheaper international airfare prices are a positive legacy of the GFC,” Flight Centre Limited executive general manager of marketing Colin Bowman said.

“Generally, fares remain well below historic highs and in many instances are cheaper now than they were during the economic downturn of 2008/09.

“Of course, the Australian dollar’s current strength is another significant benefit for travellers taking off overseas at the moment.

“Together, these two factors have created an environment in which Australian travellers have been able to secure some of the best value for money holidays we have seen.”

While advertised London fares increased moderately on the dates analysed, cheaper offers have been available recently.

This month, Flight Centre advertised return fares from Sydney for less than $1300, roughly 10% cheaper than the advertised price on May 18, 2009.

“Eye-catching special offers like this tend to sell out quickly, so the best advice is to book them as soon as they become available,” Mr Bowman said.

“Another factor to consider when hunting for an airfare bargain today is the impact of fuel prices.

“Recent oil price increases have flown through to the cost of airfares and may lead to further airfare price rises in the future.”

Auckland, Bali and Fiji, traditional holiday favourites for Australian travellers, were among the destinations that were currently cheaper than 2009.

Cheaper fares were also available to numerous Asian destinations, including Hong Kong, Beijing, Delhi and Kuala Lumpur.

Amsterdam $1586 $1355 Up 17%
Athens $1614 $2149 25% cheaper
Auckland $266 $385 31% cheaper
Bali $717 $855 16% cheaper
Bangkok $846 $719 Up 17%
Beijing $776 $885 12% cheaper
Buenos Aires $1351 $1399 3% cheaper
Christchurch $339 $299 Up 13%
Delhi $1005 $1235 19% cheaper
Dublin $1712 $2249 24% cheaper
Fiji $475 $599 21% cheaper
Frankfurt $1557 $1355 Up 15%
Hawaii $941 $855 Up 10%
Ho Chi Minh City $748 $885 15% cheaper
Hong Kong $798 $1019 22% cheaper
Istanbul $1521 $1319 Up 15%
Johannesburg $1889 $1839 Up 3%
Kuala Lumpur $833 $895 7% cheaper
London $1626 $1455 Up 12%
LA $1421 $1025 Up 39%
Manchester $1727 $1789 3% cheaper
Manila $721 $739 2% cheaper
Paris $1576 $1379 Up 14%
Phuket $893 $829 Up 8%
Rome $1420 $1329 Up 7%
San Francisco $1633 $1315 Up 24%
Shanghai $831 $1025 19% cheaper
Singapore $882 $849 Up 4%
Tokyo $960 $899 Up 7%
Vanuatu $533 $535 Flat