Australia’s fast-growing fast-air tickets business is facing “death spiral”, with travel agents in the country’s capital charging “exorbitant” fees to book tickets to destinations such as London, Dubai and other major cities.
Key points:Fast air tickets have become increasingly popular with tourists as they are cheaper than flightsThe Australian Taxation Office says a rise in demand from overseas has led to an increase in feesAustralians have complained that they are being unfairly penalisedThe Australian Government says it is taking steps to improve its business environmentThe AFP says it has received more than 500 complaints about “excessive” charges from Australians since July.
It’s not just Australians travelling overseas to the UK, but the vast majority of Australians travel overseas for leisure purposes.
In September, the Government announced it would introduce an additional 3 per cent tax on overseas sales of fast air travel.
The move was designed to encourage people to use Australian passports for international travel.
But it has also prompted complaints from the Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA), which represents fast air ticket agents.
“Australians are rightly frustrated at the increasing costs and complexity of overseas travel, particularly when we are dealing with the threat of terrorism,” ATIA president John Burch said.
“This is a death spiral that is forcing Australians to use increasingly expensive international travel to escape from this.”
The rise in overseas demand for fast air flight tickets has driven the cost of Australia’s most popular fast air services, such as the SkyRider, skyjacking and “freighter” tours, to unsustainable levels.
The SkyRiders and Freighters are designed to take passengers from Sydney to London in one hour, and then back to Sydney.
They are also popular among people who are looking for a quick flight to a major city such as New York, Dubai or other destinations.
However, a new study by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) found Australians are paying “excruciatingly” high prices for tickets to these popular services, which have become more popular with the arrival of more people.
It found the average rate charged to book a SkyRide, SkyJacker or Freighter ticket was $5,542 (£3,971) – the highest the ATO has found for such services.
“These prices have not been consistent across the world, but it is clear that Australian travellers are paying exorbitant rates for these services,” ATO spokesman David Williams said.
Australia’s Fast Air Tickets industry is worth around $50 billion dollars ($38 billion) per year, according to the ATIA.
But the increase in demand has also pushed the cost for Australian fast air travellers to unsustainable amounts.
On average, a SkyJacking ticket for a journey to London from Sydney costs $569, compared to $1,937 for a SkyRaid.
Australia has also had a record number of domestic deaths this year, with the number of people in hospital with injuries exceeding 1,000 for the first time.
In June, a woman died after being dragged from her hotel room in Melbourne’s CBD and rushed to hospital with a head injury.
Her death is believed to be the first death in Australia linked to fast air tourism since 2010.
The ATIAPA said Australians were being “unfairly penalised” by travel agents for using Australian passports, and called on the Government to ensure its business climate improved.
“Australia is an attractive destination for travel, but we are also concerned that the Australian Government is not making sure its business policies are in line with the best practices of its international trading partners,” ATIAC president John Barrum said.