What Is The Worst Performing International Airline Route In Australia?


Every month the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development publish statistics about international airline activity in Australia. If you like that sort of thing it’s an interesting read.

The latest bunch of stats are out. They cover the month of June 2019. We’re going to take a quick look at seat utilisation rates, that is, what percentage of seats are sold on an airline’s flights in and out of Australia over the course of June 2019.

Rather than looking at the best – that’s no fun – we’re going to take a quick look at the worst performing services.

Some 60 airlines fly international services into Australia and the average seat utilisation rate in June 2019 was 75.2%

There are a few services with some seriously underwhelming seat utilisation rates.

A surprise was poor performer was the Emirates fifth freedom flight between Sydney and Christchurch. It had lousy seat utilisation rates in June 2019. They had 30 services between the two cities offering 15,374 seats. 6,747 seats were utilised giving these flights a seat utilisation rate of a mere 43.9% in June 2019. 

A possible silver lining is that there should be loads of seats available for points redemptions. Really must check that out.

Other airlines with seat utilisation rates in the 4th percentile band include Royal Brunei’s Australian services with a seat utilisation rate of 46.0% and Samoa Airways with a seat utilisation rate of 43.7%.

But the real (in)glory lies with the three worst performers.

Nauru Airlines flew four services between Australia and the Solomon Islands in June 2019. 512 seats were available, 172 seats were utilised, giving these Solomon Island services a seat utilisation rate of just 33.6% in June 2019.

The Solomon Islands appear to be a bit of a black hole for seat utilisation rates. Virgin Australia sends its 737-800’s there twice a week. They utilised 516 seats out of 1408 available seats, giving them a seat utilisation rate of 36.6% in June 2019.

And the winner? Take a bow Donghai Airlines. They fly from Shenzen to Darwin a couple of times a week using a Boeing 737-800. Whoever thought this route would be a winner, Oz Traveller doesn’t know, but Donghai Airlines only filled 24.7% of their available seats in June, making this flight (in terms of seat utilisation rates) the worst performing flight in June 2019.

Donghai upped its flights in June, citing increased demand. We’d hate to see the slow season.

And the best performing flights? American Airlines’ daily service between Los Angeles and Sydney filled a cracking 95.7% of seats. Delta was only a point behind it.

Over the next week or two, Oz Traveller will dive into the BITRE stats and pull out a few more blog posts.


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