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Aviation is booming…if you have small planes

  • Total domestic passengers have fallen by two thirds since the COVID-19 pandemic, while travellers on chartered flights have grown by 35 per cent.
  • With a fleet of 48 aircraft, Alliance Aviation was the only ASX-listed airline to post a profit in the first half of the 2021FY as revenue from chartered flights grew by 176 per cent YoY.
  • Qantas, Australia’s largest airline by fleet size, reported an 84 per cent YoY decline in passenger revenue during the six months to December 2020.

While COVID-19 border closures continue to wreak havoc on the aviation industry, the chartered flight sector is flying comfortably under the radar.

Data published by the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications reveals that while total passengers have fallen by two thirds since the COVID-19 pandemic, travellers on privately chartered flights have grown by 35 per cent.

Alliance Airlines, which is Australia’s major fly in, fly out operator with just 48 aircraft was the only listed airline to report revenue growth in the first half of the 2021FY after revenues from chartered flights grew by 176 per cent.

Airlines dominating longer flight paths through efficiencies that were once gained from larger planes with a greater seating capacity have instead struggled to regain passenger revenue during the pandemic.

With a largely dormant fleet of 314 aircraft, Qantas reported that passenger revenue had fallen by 84 per cent in the six months to December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Without clarity on the future of border closures, the aviation industry serves as an example of why it’s not always the size that counts, but how it’s used.

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