Surprising change to airfare costs

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Australian air travellers stung by the high price of airfares through December can expect some relief, according to new data that shows the cost of a plane ticket has dropped from the Christmas peak.

The Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) shows an increase in discounted flights in January.

However, prices are still higher than they were in the beginning of 2022.

The data shows that the index for the “best discount airfare” dropped from 112 points in December to 74.5 points in January.

The hopeful news comes amid huge increases on the price of airfares in Australia. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan PeledThe hopeful news comes amid huge increases on the price of airfares in Australia. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

“Restricted economy” tickets recorded a smaller dip in prices dropping from 90.5 points to 82.0 points in the past month, while business tickets had an even thinner margin, falling from a score of 61.8 to 57.4.

Though the dip is promising for those hoping to travel more in 2023, the index is much higher than in 2022, when discounted airfares received a score of 54.1 and economy tickets were at 73.2.

The index is a record of the lowest flights offered to passengers each month, rather than an average of all costs.

"Restricted economy" tickets saw a small dip from December 2022 to January 2023. Restricted economy tickets are for tickets with fees for flexibility.“Restricted economy” tickets saw a small dip from December 2022 to January 2023. Restricted economy tickets are for tickets with fees for flexibility.Discounted fares saw the biggest fall in prices in the past month.Discounted fares saw the biggest fall in prices in the past month.

The price dip comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) put pressure on the airline industry to reduce high prices by increasing the supply of flights available.

“The ACCC will be monitoring the domestic airlines closely to ensure they return capacity to the marketing a timely manner to bring downward pressure on airfares,” the ACCC’s latest report on airline competition in Australia said.

“In this context, the ACCC would be concerned if the airlines withheld capacity in order to keep airfares high.”

A new discounted airline is set to take to the skies in 2023. The first Bonza flights will take off out of the Sunshine Coast, followed by Melbourne.A new discounted airline is set to take to the skies in 2023. The first Bonza flights will take off out of the Sunshine Coast, followed by Melbourne.The airline is set to run on 27 routes across the country, focusing on regional areas.The airline is set to run on 27 routes across the country, focusing on regional areas.

The ACCC found that passengers were paying 27 per cent more for flights in October 2022 than they were in October 2019.

The news comes as a new budget airline has been granted its Air Operator Certificate and is one step closer to taking to the sky.

Bonza is now “finalising its preparations to go on sale” with the first flights to fly out of the Sunshine Coast, followed by Melbourne.

The airline has not revealed the exact date tickets would go on sale but it has released its initial route map of 17 destinations and 27 routes.

93 per cent of Bonza’s routes are not currently served by any other airline and 96 per cent currently have no low cost carrier.

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