> A return to international travel – is Australia/New Zealand ready?

A return to international travel – is Australia/New Zealand ready?

Globally, international air travel continues to rebuild, with the latest projections indicating global air travel will return to pre-pandemic levels during 2024.

This broad global recovery masks the fact that significant variations exist from region to region and between individual markets, which has important implications for airlines through Australasia.

After a slow start, the US-Australasia travel market rebounded strongly in late 2022 and early 2023. The US-Australia and US-New Zealand markets have undergone a robust recovery and airlines are still planning major capacity additions. But, what competitive moves are left in these markets and how will things play out once capacity fully returns?

Southeast Asia’s travel market saw LCCs come to the fore during the pandemic, helping to rapidly restore regional connectivity. At the same time, LCCs are pulling back from some of the long-haul markets where they had previously made inroads. Are LCCs going to re-enter the long haul markets connecting Southeast Asia with destinations in Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the Pacific, or will it default back to full service carriers?

The recovery of the East-West long haul market between Australasia, the Middle East and Europe has largely performed ahead of expectations, with several of the largest players in the market now back at pre-pandemic levels. With travel demand remaining high, is the market’s health as robust as it appears?

China formally re-opened its borders to international travel in early Jan-2023, and momentum in the Chinese outbound travel market. However, returning Chinese outbound travellers are showing distinctly different market and travel preferences than before the onset of COVID-19. Are Australasian travel markets ready for a returning and different Chinese traveller?

These were just four of the questions that were asked during a panel discussion at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit in Brisbane in the middle of Sep-2023.

The session, moderated by CAPA – Centre for Aviation Analyst and Aviation Week, Senior Air Transport Editor, Adrian Schofield included: Cathay Pacific, General Manager, Cargo Service Delivery & Regional General Manager, Southwest Pacific (designate), Frosti Lau; Tourism Australia, Executive General Manager, Andrew Hogg; Philippine Airlines, VP for Network Planning & External Affairs, Christoph Gaertner; United Airlines, Regional Manager AU, NZ, FP, Timothy Wallis; and VietJet, Commercial VP, Jay L Lingeswara.

You can view the full session via the following CAPA TV recording.

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