Qantas hikes fares in Australia and to New Zealand: more rises to follow?

By John Walton, February 11 2011
Qantas hikes fares in Australia and to New Zealand: more rises to follow?

Qantas will sock you with higher fares on domestic, regional and trans-Tasman flights from 25 February, citing higher fuel prices. The airline says that ticket prices will rise by up to 5%.

The price rise comes despite Qantas' fuel stocks in Asia and Oceania being at least 2% cheaper than the global average, and nearly 3% cheaper than jet fuel in the Middle East, according to IATA's jet fuel price analysis.

Passengers on Qantas' flights from Melbourne to Auckland or Sydney to Perth can expect a $20 roundtrip increase as a result, while even short hops like Brisbane to Rockhampton will increase by $8.

Qantas' review of domestic fares, which Australian Business Traveller reported last week after the airline hiked its international fuel surcharges, has apparently concluded that prices are too low. 

That'll be a surprise to regular Qantas passengers. We checked fare comparison website Kayak and priced a Sydney-Melbourne return flight in economy for 14-18 March, a regular Monday-down Friday-back business trip. 

The fare on Qantas was double the most expensive competitor, coming in at an eyewatering $480, compared with Tiger Airways at $98, Jetstar at $149 and Virgin Blue at $217.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce signalled that further increases are likely too: "After fuel hedging and this change to our fares, Qantas will still not fully recover these higher fuel costs. Nor can we rule out further increases in the future should they be necessary."

Thinking of choosing Jetstar to avoid the increases? Think again. Qantas says: "Jetstar will also address the impact of higher fuel prices on its domestic and international operations via adjustments to air fares in selected markets and increases in ancillary revenue, including baggage charges."

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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