Butler Caroye research: Virgin winning war on pricing


Research into the war on airline prices was revealed at the 2022 btTB Travel Conference in Sydney, with Virgin the a clear winner when it comes to value. 

Research from Butler Caroye’s Managing Director Tony O’Connor showed Virgin’s airfares are approximately 30% less than Qantas for economy flights. When it comes to business flights, prices are 56% cheaper. 

The analysis is based on hundreds of thousands of actual fares booked by corporate travellers. Get the report. 

It looked at results for different economy fare types, and results for the three “golden triangle” business routes between Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. 

The average domestic economy business travel fares for Qantas in the first half of 2022 are $255 per flight, while Rex is $224 followed by Virgin, $168. 

“The substantial Qantas-Virgin gap is the same as it was in mid-2021,” Tony said. “Both Qantas and Virgin have fallen 12% from their 2021 Economy fare levels. Rex appears to be positioning itself as a slightly less expensive alternative to Qantas.”

Why conditions are ripe for more competition

Looking at respective pre-Covid Economy fare levels (2019 2nd Half),  Qantas is 16% lower and Virgin is 25% lower. This suggesting a more competitive  approach from Virgin to build business travel market share in 2022,” Butler Caroye’s research says. 

 The data also suggests that Qantas is basically tracking Virgin’s fare reduction path, but several months behind in terms of the rate of reduction, and off a 34% higher base.


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