ACCC clears airlines of price gouging


Australia’s airlines have been cleared of any price gouging by the consumer watchdog despite air fares more than doubling over the last few months.

Air fare types had seen a 27 per cent increase year on year, with the cheapest fares recording the biggest increases, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC’s latest report said that the strong surge in demand post-pandemic was behind the price rises combined with ongoing capacity issues as carriers struggle to build back following two years of inactivity.

Commissioner Anna Brakey said the ACCC would continue to monitor prices as capacity returns to normal.

“The airlines have significantly improved their reliability following historic lows over winter; however, flights are still regularly delayed,” she said.

“We would be concerned if airlines withheld capacity to keep airfares high.”

Qantas was not expected to return to 2019 levels of capacity until the first half of 2023, while Virgin Australia is forecast to reach those levels by January.