The cost of flights during the pandemic has increased significantly. For the money that today you need to pay for an economy class flight from Australia to Europe, before the pandemic, you could buy a ticket in premium economy. And seats in Premium Economy Class are now being sold at pre-pandemic business prices.
The higher ticket prices are due to higher fuel prices. But, as it turns out, not only. Lack of competition — another important reason. In May 2022, 51 foreign airlines operated flights to Australia. This is 10 less than in 2019. It may not seem like a huge difference, but most of the carriers that ended their Australian programs are based in China, and this is important. others to cut prices.
Over the past decade, the number of Chinese flights to Australia has quadrupled due to the influx of Chinese tourists — in 2019, more than 1.44 million Chinese visited the country. This is four times more than in the previous decade. In 2009, three Chinese airlines flew to Australia, and in 2019 — already nine. In addition to daily flights to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, they also operated non-stop flights to Kunming, Chengdu, Xiamen, Hangzhou and Qingdao.
The Chinese government has allowed Australians to stay in China without a visa for up to 72 hours in 18 cities and up to 144 hours — in a few favorites.
In turn, Australia welcomed Chinese tourists with open arms. In December 2016, expedited visa processing was announced, and in January 2017, 10-year multiple-entry visas were introduced for eligible Chinese travelers. An agreement was signed between China and Australia to lift all restrictions on air travel between the countries.
In the first six months of 2019, nine Chinese airlines operating passenger flights to Australia transported about 915,641 people. That is, with an average capacity of a long-haul airliner of 300 seats, it took more than 3,000 flights — 50 per month. During the same six-month period in 2022, the three remaining airlines to the “green continent” a total of 22,251 people flew in.
Other airlines, in the absence of competition, immediately raised prices on their European flights. Demand far outpaced supply, and they were able to capitalize on the post-pandemic boom.
Experts believe that until the Chinese government allows its citizens to freely travel abroad — and now it is possible only for very specific reasons — this situation will not change. And Australians who want to visit European cities should be prepared to shell out a lot of money for a ticket.