Source: Reuters
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  • Domestic travel is starting to recover with April the busiest month since the pandemic began, however, airline tickets are expected to rise due to fuel prices, according to a report released by the ACCC
  • The report showed 4.5 million passengers flew throughout the month of April, which is 89 per cent of pre-COVID levels
  • Queensland was the popular destination for the month, with passenger numbers on the Canberra–Gold Coast route reaching 193 per cent of pre-COVID levels
  • While the travel industry saw more travellers, departure times dropped 62 per cent, their lowest point on record, this was due to COVID-19 related shortages and staff absences
  • The airlines are now forecasting a sustained recovery in domestic travel, but with record high fuel prices, airfares are also getting higher

Australians are starting to travel more with April being the busiest month since the pandemic began, however, airline tickets are expected to rise due to fuel prices, according to a report released by the ACCC.

The report showed 4.5 million passengers flew throughout the month of April, which is 89 per cent of pre-COVID levels.

Queensland was the popular destination for the month, with passenger numbers on the Canberra–Gold Coast route reaching 193 per cent of pre-COVID levels.

Passengers also travelling between Gold Coast and Melbourne as well as Adelaide and Sydney also exceeded the pre-pandemic average.

“After two very challenging years, it appears the domestic airline industry is approaching a full recovery,” ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said.

While the travel industry saw more travellers, departure times dropped 62 per cent, their lowest point on record, this was due to COVID-19 related shortages and staff absences.

“Airlines and airports enjoyed strong demand at Easter, but the combination of high passenger numbers and staff shortages created operational challenges for them,” Ms Brakey said.

The airlines are now forecasting a sustained recovery in domestic travel, but with record high fuel prices airfares are also getting higher and forcing airlines to revise their capacity forecasts.

The flying kangaroo recently revised its capacity forecast from 107 to 103 per cent of pre-pandemic levels for July and August.

However, Virgin, Qantas and Jetstar reported that they are expecting to be flying at or above pre-pandemic levels in the coming months.

With the new low-cost carrier Bonza to start flying in the second half of 2022, the ACCC said it will be monitoring how the airlines will react to new competition.

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