Fares fall as Australia air travel returns to pre-Covid capacity


New data from Flight Centre Corporate’s FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller has revealed global and domestic air capacity have reached pre-pandemic levels for the first time, and international airfares out of Australia have seen a drop as a result.

“As of this month, and for the first time since the pandemic, we have reached aircraft passenger seat capacity that is above or beyond pre-pandemic levels globally. This means that across the world we have as many seats available to passengers as we did before 2019,” said Flight Centre Corporate Global COO Melissa Elf.

“We’re seeing this directly correlate to decreasing airfares, which is great news for our corporate travellers, who rely on travel to keep their businesses ticking, and win new work.” “An analysis of key international routes for Australian travellers has found fares on some routes dropped by up to 25 per cent, and with more and more capacity and competition being introduced to the market it’s a trend we’ll continue to see throughout the rest of the year.

“The Global Business Travel Association predicted a growth in business travel of 27 per cent in 2023 in Australia. It has also revealed that in 2024 for ever USD1 spent on business travel, a business would see a USD145 return in sales. 

>“We still have some countries that are lagging in their international and domestic capacity, but some that have come back stronger than ever before. It’s evident in the data that the airlines and airports with the highest levels of capacity are seeing the best rates for passengers.

“Australia’s international capacity is currently at 95 per cent, so we’d like to see this continue to increase. We are anticipating that to tick up to 98 per cent next month, and hover around that mark for the next six months.

“It will also vary depending on the port of departure – for example, international seat capacity out of Perth is at 111 per cent, and Sydney is nearing full capacity at 97 per cent.

“We’re seeing promising signs that this will be a long lasting trend, thanks to new international capacity announcements like recent ones from Delta Airlines, Singapore Airlines, China Southern and Jetstar.

“It’s certainly a complex landscape, and this data shows us just how critical it is to have a travel management company on your side that can find you the best deal across a multitude of airlines, lock in the most convenient route, advise on the best time to travel and maximise travel benefits.



Average fare in Q1 2024, outbound from Australia

Average fare in Q1 2023, outbound from Australia

Percentage change in fare in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023

Current seat capacity from Australia compared to pre-pandemic capacity











Papua New Guinea





United Kingdom










New Zealand





United Arab Emirates










United States of America





Hong Kong





Data attributed to FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller.

*Papua New Guinea has nearly doubled its seat capacity since June 2023. It reached 100 per cent capacity as of March 2023. Over the next six months we are expecting to see fares soften.

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