Australia needs to urgently expand it’s bilateral agreements with countries such as Malaysia, China and Hong Kong to further increase frequencies brought forward by airlines in Perth and other Australian ports including Brisbane and Adelaide.
To China –
According to the Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation’s analysis, Australia-China maximum bilateral capacity is 22,500 seats which have already been filled to the brink by China Southern, Eastern, Air China and Sichuan Airlines. China Southern provide a direct air-link to mainland China from Perth three times weekly. According to the analysis conducted from the 15th – 21st of April, CZ carried 732 seats on it’s thrice-weekly services to Guangzhou.
To the Middle East –
Also according to the analysis, Emirates carried the most seats during the same period on it’s three daily Dubai-Perth services with 7,028. Qatar Airways also operate daily services to Perth (and Melbourne) and carried 4,700 seats between the two destinations.
To Hong Kong –
Cathay Pacific is also pushing for some slice of the cake in the Hong Kong-Australia route. It is currently allowed 70 weekly frequencies between it’s destinations in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Cathay is more focused on it’s Sydney services with a strong 4 daily presence. The Hong Kong-Perth route which was abandoned by Qantas in late-March, carried 2,860 seats during the same period in the analysis. There is room though to increase as CX does not use it’s full set of frequencies due to schedule and seasonal changes.
T0 Malaysia –
Malaysia is the market which needs to see an increase in the agreement much more than any other country. The seats to and from Malaysia are capped at 26,600, which is fully utilised by AirAsia X and Malaysia Airlines combined. If they want to expand to such ports as Perth, they may need to expand their own bilateral agreements first. AirAsia X is reducing to daily on the Perth-KL route for the Northern Summer Season. They will return gradually to double-daily as seen in the schedules.
The constraints in the Kuala Lumpur-Perth (Sydney and Melbourne) markets could force AirAsia X to focus their expansion plans on other Australian routes or outside Australia entirely. The airports and economies of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth would be impacted adversely.
To the Philippines –
The Phillipines are allowed 5,000 weekly one-way flights to/from Australia. With the launch of new services via Darwin, they raise their current capacity from 4,500 to 5,600 seats. Note, the airlines don’t count an Australian intermediate stop as one to be capped so the extra 600 seats would be from pax in Darwin etc.
To Vietnam –
Vietnam could use an expansion, but generally it is not a necessity. They are allowed 24 weekly flights to and from Australia. They could either add frequencies to Sydney and Melbourne or add new ports such as Perth and even Brisbane to benefit the ever-growing Vietnamese population the two cities host.
To Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia –
There are no restrictions on the Singapore-Australia routes and the Indonesia and Thailand markets have plenty of room to increase to ports within Australia.
So, the outlook:
Air Mauritius – No increased frequencies (Need to build fleet size up/not viable)
AirAsia X – Increasing to double daily in November* confirmed, might open a Bangkok-Perth route.
Cathay Pacific – Increase to HKG-PER market by the end of this year (Currently 10x weekly, bilateral agreements)
China Southern – Could increase to daily by the end of this year (bilateral agreements)
Emirates – No room to increase at this point (3x daily currently)
Garuda Indonesia – No need to increase, reintroducing direct Jakarta-Perth (2x daily)
Indonesia AirAsia – Will increase to four daily, may open up Jakarta-Perth (4x daily PER-DPS) (competition w/ Jetstar to CGK)
Jetstar – No need to increase.
Jetstar Asia – Could increase, but gradually (12x weekly)
Malaysia Airlines – Could increase PER-KUL by Q3 this year (10x weekly), BKI route 4x weekly? from end of this year (1x weekly)
Qantas – New routes, not necessarily soon as reductions have just occurred.
Qatar Airways – Could increase to 10x then 14x weekly by end of this year (7x weekly)
Singapore Airlines – No need to increase (28x weekly)
South African Airways – Cannot increase (bilateral agreements – QF/SA)
Thai Airways – 10x weekly increase (6x weekly currently)
Tiger Airways – Already increasing from July. (7x weekly)
Virgin Australia – Opening of new routes Q4 2013?
New airlines :-
Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi
Vietnam Airlines to Ho Chi Minh City
Kenya Airways to Nairobi
Air China to Shanghai/Beijing
You can view the complete analytical data at the Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation Website.
Photo: ©Hayden Lamb Photography. Used with permission