Why Are Flights To Australia So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Morgan Stephens

Morgan Stephens has been to 43 countries and counting, and he's never content to stay in one place for too long. Right now, he's living in South Korea, but he's always on the lookout for his next adventure.

Traveling down to Australia can be an exhilarating adventure, and since it is such a fantastic place to visit, many people want to go at once.

When this happens, the airfare becomes more expensive, and sometimes other costs associated with traveling can also become high. Here’s what I’ve discovered about why flying to Australia is so expensive!

Why Are Flights To Australia So Expensive?

Flights to Australia are expensive because of their small population, making it difficult for airlines to justify lower prices to their consumers. It’s an island continent with few connections to countries outside of its borders, so competition for passengers between these cities is fierce. As a result, it has led to a higher cost of flights.

Let’s look into these facts to identify why flying to Australia is so pricey, so keep reading!

1. Australia’s Population Density Is Small

Australia has a population count of 23 million people, much smaller than the United States or Europe.

That said, the population density is only 3.3 people per square kilometer, while other countries have more than ten people per square kilometer.

Further, this makes it harder for airlines to operate flights as they would in countries with higher population densities.

For example, in New York City, there are over 25 people per square kilometer, making it very easy for airlines to be profitable and maintain many flights throughout the day.

2. Dominance Of Finest Airlines

The two big players in Australia are Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia—these airlines have a monopoly on most routes within Australia.

So, because these airlines have such a stronghold on the market, they can charge higher prices for tickets than other airlines would be able to get away with charging in similar circumstances.

As a result, there’s less competition on routes between other cities within Australia, leading to higher fares when traveling between major cities like Sydney or Melbourne versus Perth or Adelaide.

3. Distance Between Destinations Is Far Greater Than Other Countries

The distance between the US and Australia is farther than most other international destinations.

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Therefore, it takes longer for planes to travel between those points on their routes—and longer flights require more fuel, which drives up operating costs.

Add that all up, and you’ve got yourself some pricey tickets.

For instance, the distance from London to Sydney is more than 10,000 miles—or over three times the distance from London to New York City.

Moreover, that makes it one of the longest flights in the world, and it means a lot more fuel is required to get you there.

4. Taxes Imposed By The Australian Government

Australian tax laws impose high taxes on airline tickets purchased within their borders or outside of them.

That said, the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) is a fee that both visitors and Australians must pay when they depart Australia.

Further, the PMC is paid at the airport before boarding your flight and costs $60 Australian (AUD) per person.

Also, a cost that must be passed along to passengers as part of ticket prices adds up to nearly $1 billion per year in the government’s tax revenue.

5. Australia Has Strict Quarantine Laws Due To COVID-19

5. Australia Has Strict Quarantine Laws Due To COVID-19

The Australian government has been forced to take strict measures against the spread of the virus, causing a dramatic increase in canceled flights.

Further, passengers have to undergo a mandatory health check before boarding any flight.

That said, these measures have increased demand for flights to Australia as passengers look for alternative destinations.

However, the high demand has pushed ticket prices even further because of supply and demand issues.

6. Impact Of War In Ukraine On The Aviation Industry

Based on the IATA fact sheet, the impact on aviation pales in comparison to the impending humanitarian calamity.

That said, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has resulted in an uptick in air traffic, driving up ticket prices.

As a result, many travelers are looking for flights to Australia that are not just affordable but also reliable and safe.

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Therefore, airlines are already dealing with the aftermath of an oil price slump, which has hit their profits hard and forced them to slash flights.

Additionally, now comes another headache that has caused a significant increase in the cost of jet fuel.

7. Resilient Economy

Australia is a wealthy country with high-income earners and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.

In fact, the country’s GDP will be 6.6% higher by 2022 than before the outbreak.

Also, Australia’s average income per capita for most households is almost $89,122 a year, much higher than in other countries such as the United States and Canada.

So, flights to and from Australia are costly, yet many individuals can still afford them.

8. Australian Government Regulates Carbon Footprint Aviation

The Australian government takes a firm stance on environmental issues and aviation emissions, which means restrictions on how much pollution can be emitted during flight time.

Further, the country has a rigid regulatory structure that promotes an open, commercial environment.

That said, these measures are designed to make sure that the air transport business remains sustainable in any way possible, including economically and ecologically.

Moreover, this makes it possible for airlines to offer competitive pricing on flights to Australia because of the high cost of meeting these regulations.

9. Limited To Two Major Passenger Airports

Australia has only two leading international airports: Sydney and Melbourne.

Because there are so few other options, these airports are monopolies—they can set their prices without much competition from other airports in the immediate area.

Also, they can charge whatever they want without worrying about losing business to another airport that charges less money because they’re monopolies.

Therefore, flying into one of these two cities will cost you more than if you chose a different destination in Australia.

10. Constrained Direct Flights from US & European Countries

There are fewer direct flights from North America and European countries to Australia because of the distance between the continents.

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Moreover, it makes it more expensive for airlines to fly directly from country to country.

In addition, because of this distance between continents and because people travel through multiple countries to reach their destination, there are opportunities for delays or cancellations.

With fewer direct flights available, it’s harder for people who want to make sure that they arrive on time for a specific event or occasion.

11. Traveling On A Peak Or Holiday Season

The Christmas holiday season can be a nightmare for booking flights, but it’s also popular with Australians who want to visit family and friends back home.

So, when you’re trying to fly into Australia during this season, expect higher prices than usual because demand will be so high at that time of year!

Further, keep in mind that flight prices are usually higher when they’re booked closer to departure dates because airlines often charge more for these seats, known as walk-in fares.

Therefore, if you’re waiting until the last minute to book your flight to Australia, this could contribute to your high fare.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why flights to Cabo are so expensive, why flights to New Zealand are so expensive, and why flights to Mexico are so expensive.


Australia will always be a sublime and adventure-seeking place to visit, but it’s undeniable that the cost of flights to Australia today is much greater than they once were.

Ultimately, much of the reason for this is the geography of the continent and the higher cost involved.

Thus, international flights to Australia are forecasted to remain relatively expensive for at least the near future.


  • Morgan Stephens

    Morgan Stephens has been to 43 countries and counting, and he's never content to stay in one place for too long. Right now, he's living in South Korea, but he's always on the lookout for his next adventure.

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