Taylor Swift drops unexpected gift on Qantas, Virgin Australia thanks to Eras Tour concerts

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Taylor Swift can now add hero to the Australian aviation sector to her resume after her Eras Tour contributed to a bump in revenue and the highest traffic since 2019.
Taylor Swift can now add hero to the Australian aviation sector to her resume after her Eras Tour contributed to a bump in revenue and the highest traffic since 2019. Credit: JOEL CARRETT/AAPIMAGE

Australia’s aviation sector seems to have returned to pre-pandemic normal thanks, in no small part, and the consumer watchdog says airlines have Taylor Swift to thank.

Swift’s Australian leg of her record-breaking Eras Tour helped deliver a record February for airlines, with domestic passenger numbers exceeding 2019 levels for the first time since the pandemic.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s latest airline monitoring report noted that revenue from domestic passengers increased by 9 per cent from January to February 2024, likely due to “major event-driven demand”.

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Swift performed seven concerts to more than 600,000 people in Melbourne and Sydney across two weekends in February.

The unprecedented turn-out prompted Qantas to schedule an extra 67 flights — 11,000 more seats — on routes to Melbourne and Sydney. Virgin Australia also added capacity.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 16: EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO BOOK COVERS Taylor Swift performs at Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 16, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)
Swift played to more than 600,000 people across seven nights in Melbourne and Sydney in February. Credit: Graham Denholm/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Mana

The ACCC report also noted a World Wrestling Entertainment event in Perth also drew 45,000 people to the West Coast.

“After four years of instability, the domestic airline industry has returned to more typical seasonal levels that were last seen before the pandemic,” ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said.

“The increase to airline seat capacity has contributed to lower airfares for consumers on domestic routes. We hope to see this trend continue as the airline industry returns to a more stable market.”

The report did note the demise of budget regional-focused carrier Bonza, calling it a loss for customers and competition.

It warned of a loss of connectivity to regional areas, particularly the 30 routes Bonza exclusively serviced, if the airline were not to recommence operations.

But an even bigger disappointment, the quarterly report noted, was the loss of “opportunity” for Bonza to “develop further into a more meaningful competitor”.

The ACCC observed the domestic airline market was still “highly concentrated” with or without Bonza.

In the March quarter, Qantas and Jetstar held 61.8 per cent of the domestic market, Virgin Australia held 31.3 per cent and Rex held 5 per cent.

Bonza, in its short life span, held a 2 per cent share of the market.

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