The biggest benefit of returning to pre-pandemic traffic levels is not just about choice, capacity, or convenience. The most significant benefit to the traveling public is the return of competition, particularly in Asia-Pacific, where too many airlines have settled into a cozy existence of high load factors and restrained capacity pushing ticket prices higher.
Competition is working
A prime example of what competition can deliver is unfolding in Australia on the routes to and from Vietnam. The 2021 Australian Census reported that there were 335,000 people in Australia of Vietnamese ancestry and that there were 268,000 Australian residents who were born in Vietnam. Australia has one of the largest Vietnamese diasporas in the world, plus there are fast-growing business, trade, and educational links between the two countries.
Vietnam’s low-cost leader, VietJet, has burst onto the Australian scene, launching AU$200 ($132) return fares between Melbourne and Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN). These started last month as three times weekly services, and this week VietJet announced it was adding a fourth service from both Melbourne and Sydney, starting in September. It also launches twice-weekly flights from Brisbane to Ho Chi Minh City in June.
Vietnam Airlines has established a strong and popular presence in Australia and is not about to sit back and let this new upstart swagger into town and grab all the spoils. Today Melbourne Airport (MEL) announced it is strengthening the connection between Melbourne and Vietnam with the launch of Vietnam Airlines flights to Hanoi. The airline already operates a six times weekly service from Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City, which is expected to go daily next month, and will add the new flights to Hanoi to its roster starting on June 15th.
Adding the Hanoi flights will increase the annual capacity between Melbourne and Vietnam by 65,000 seats and very comfortable ones on the Airbus A350-900 flying the route. The airline also has a daily flight from Sydney Airport (SYD) to Ho Chi Minh City and a twice-weekly service to Hanoi. With up to 18 flights weekly, Vietnam Airlines will offer the most direct services between Australia and Vietnam.
Capacity is above pre-COVID levels
The Melbourne – Hanoi Noi Bai International (HAN) route will operate on Thursday and Sunday, arriving in Melbourne at 12:30 and departing for Hanoi at 15:00. Melbourne Airport head of aviation Jim Parashos said this new route is a massive win for Victorian tourists, tertiary education providers, and exporters.
Vietnam Airlines was the first airline to connect Melbourne to Vietnam, and Parashos added:
“This extra capacity means more Vietnamese students can travel to Victoria for study, more families can connect with their loved ones and Victorian exporters have more options to move their products into the Vietnamese market.
“These new flights also mean Victorians tourists will be able to fly into either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City before traveling along the country’s spectacular coast and then flying home directly.”
Vietnam is consistently in the top ten international destinations at Melbourne Airport, and VietJet’s aggressive launch into the market will add to the two-way traffic, particularly for the budget-conscious market. Airline capacity between Australia and Vietnam is now close to 20% more than pre-pandemic levels, which is undoubtedly a sign that competition drives demand.
Source : Simple Flying