18 October 2023

ACCC to monitor Australia's air passenger services


Joint media release with
The Hon Catherine King MP
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

The Albanese Government will direct the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to monitor domestic air passenger services to help ensure Australians see the benefits of a competitive airline sector.

This will complement the ACCC’s monitoring role in relation to certain airports, as well as their continual engagement with the aviation sector in the delivery of their core consumer protection function.

We want a safe, sustainable and efficient aviation sector that provides a high standard of service, good prices and better consumer protections for Australians.

A competitive airline industry helps to put downward pressure on prices and deliver more choice for Australians facing cost‑of‑living pressures.

ACCC market scrutiny will help ensure airlines compete on their merits, bring to light any inappropriate market conduct should it occur, and provide continued transparency at a time when new and expanding airlines are still trying to establish themselves.

The direction will be issued under section 95ZE of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and will require the ACCC to monitor prices, costs and profits in the domestic air passenger sector.

Key areas will include the level of capacity the airlines are putting on each route as well as industry performance, including on cancellations and delays.

Providing better accessibility for people with a disability will also be a priority for the sector.

The former government scheduled the end of monitoring for June 2023 but we’ve found a better way to restart it.

The 12 reports under the previous government found declining service standards and higher prices but were not acted on. In contrast, the Albanese Government will use ACCC monitoring to help inform the Aviation White Paper which is setting the policy direction for the sector out to 2050. We will ensure healthy competition plays a key role in shaping the future of the sector.

The Treasury Competition Taskforce is working with the Aviation White Paper team on competition reforms needed to build a more robust and resilient airline industry.

The White Paper will also consider strengthening consumer protections, and improvements to complaint handling processes.

The direction will apply for three years and commence before the end of the year with reports released quarterly.

The Albanese Government will continue to act in Australia’s best interests by supporting our airlines to be competitive, cost‑effective and commercially viable into the future.