Australia: Domestic Airlines
Australian Domestic Airlines Overview
Australia is a vast country. Distances between major cities run in thousands of kilometers.
Therefore, it is not surprising that airlines will compete with other transport providers for speed and comfort.
It is cheaper to take the bus from Melbourne to Sydney but you need to reserve 11 hours for the trip.
Cairns and Darwin for Melbourne travelers are simply flight-type destinations. You can drive from Adelaide to Perth but you need to book accommodation in between. Therefore, without domestic flights Australia cannot function. This also means that without competitive domestic airlines Australia cannot provide cost effective flights.
Major Australian Domestic Airlines
Currently, there are 4 major australian domestic airlines which service the country:
- Virgin Blue
- Qantas (domestic flights)
- Jest Star
- Tiger Airways
Australian Domestic Airline Virgin Blue
Virgin Blue took off in August 2000 with only 2 aircraft. Currently it controls 31% of the domestic flights Australia-wide.
The company has a massive fleet of 68 modern aircraft which operate 2100 flights per week. About 24 cities throughout Australia are serviced by Virgin Blue.
The flights are very competitive when compared with Quanta's. However, the prices are generally higher then those for the same destination run by Jet Star or Tiger Airways. The one way flight from Sydney to Melbourne costs about $60. Quanta's charges over $100. The same flight by Jet Star would cost about $50. There is a similar comparison for other destinations.
For example a one way flight by Virgin Blue from Sydney to Adelaide will cost about $120. Jet Star will charge $100 while Quanta's $133. However, the newly formed Tiger Airways offers the same tickets to Adelaide for only $50.
The Main Australian Airlines Quanta's
Quanta's is an icon of australian airlines. The 90 year old airline is currently world's leading long distance carrier.
However, the strong domestic fleet is able to service many cities and metropolis. The airline has a one of the largest number of routes throughout Australia.
Generally, Australian domestic flights by Quanta's are not the most competitive. In most cases they match the opposition but in others the prices can be as high as 40% or more of the tickets offered by competitors. However, this carrier has number of seasonal discounts, which are very good. Sometime, the airline joins holiday packages which further diversify the business.
Australian Domestic Airline Jet Star
Jet Star is essentially a subsidiary of Quanta's to provide low cost australian domestic flights. This australian domestic airline was created by Quanta's in response to the threat posed by another low cost airline - Virgin Blue.
Jet Star has good prices and does compete well with Virgin Blue. However, there is some criticism about connecting services requiring a baggage checking.
Currently airline operates over 50 aircrafts of various sizes. Airbus A320 constitutes over 75% of the fleet. Some spot check prices from Sydney to:
- Brisbane - $79
- Cairns - $139
- Melbourne - $49
- Hobart - $99
- Adelaide - $99
Tiger Airways for Domestic Flights Australia-wide
Tiger Airways is a low cost airline which launched (in 2007) domestic flights Australia-wide. The carrier is based in Singapore.
Currently, Tiger Airways is the largest low-cost airline flying out of Singapore. Thus, it is not surprising that the company tries to seriously expand its business into Australia and other countries.
This airline does not have many routes in Australia. However, their flights are really cheap. Some spot check prices from Sydney to:
- Adelaide - $49
- Gold Coast - $39
- Melbourne - $29