Why do relatives Down Under pay more than us for their air fares?
Tuesday 07 January 2014
Q. My wife and I frequently travel from Heathrow to Perth in Western Australia. When our relatives travel Perth-Heathrow, it always costs substantially more, regardless of the airline used. Why? Roger Seton, Wellingborough
A. Air fares from London are more competitive than from any other nation in Europe; it is the world capital of aviation, with far more people flying in and out than any other city on Earth. Competition is particularly intense to Australia. Even though there are no longer any direct flights to Perth, several top-quality airlines are after your custom. Qantas and its partner, Emirates, compete against Gulf rivals Etihad and Qatar Airways. All the top Asian carriers, such as Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Cathay Pacific, are after you too. There are even exotic options such as Air Mauritius and South African Airways if you want to add an unusual stopover.
As a result, prices are as low as they were a quarter-century ago, even though fares are subject to almost £100 in UK Air Passenger Duty. I am seeing quotes of £820 for a London-Perth return on Qantas/Emirate for travel in late January (a fabulous time to be in Perth, as you will know). Same dates, opposite direction: £1,000.
Now, you may well be thinking: it is clearly equally competitive between Perth and London as it is between London and Perth. So why the discrepancy? Well, airlines like to charge as much as the market will bear. For most of the past 25 years, there has not been a huge difference between Australian and UK fares. But when the pound collapsed five years ago, the Australian dollar soared in strength. The Aussies seem content to pay the same sorts of fares in A$ terms in 2013 as they did in 2007 – about A$1,800 return from Perth to London. When expressed in sterling, today’s price is about 25 per cent higher.
If any of your Australian relatives make regular trips to the UK, it could be worth them buying a one-way ticket and then organising a suitable sequence of London-Perth-London tickets to take advantage of our good fortune.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...