A recent spike in coronavirus cases in Melbourne, and the closing of the Victoria and New South Wales border, has seen a 70 per cent fall in Australian domestic flights scheduled for July compared to the same period in 2019.
Australia also showed the biggest drop in the global top 20 destinations with a massive 74 per cent fall in domestic seats year on year, according to the latest aviation data by Cirium.
APAC accounted for more than half of the world’s total domestic flights in July. Domestic scheduled flights for July within the US still lead the world’s domestic aviation markets with 413,538 flights in total, compared to 378,434 flights within China. However, the US trails behind China when it comes to actual capacity on the flights being operated.
The fast-moving Chinese market shows almost 64 million seats scheduled for July 2020 on flights within China. This is a capacity slip of only 5 per cent versus the same month last year, compared to the US capacity of over 47.4 million seats scheduled for the same month, which is still down a dramatic 46 per cent versus July 2019.
The only markets globally to show growth in domestic travel are Vietnam, South Korea and Indonesia. Vietnam’s scheduled domestic flights and seats are up an impressive 28 per cent compared to the same month last year.
Alistair Rivers, Cirium director of market development – airlines and airports, said the figures reveal “a fragile but cautiously resurgent market, as the air travel attempts to recover from the worst collapse in its history” following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Back home, Qantas has pulled inventory on all international flights through March 28, 2021, with the exception of flights between Australia and New Zealand.
The move implies that Qantas realistically does not expect any return to normal international travel until at least the start of the Northern Summer schedule for airlines.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said last month that it would be “years before international flying returns to what it was” but nonetheless left the door open to add more flights back into the schedule if things changed sooner.