Australian travellers are being offered discounted premium fares to London as some of the world's leading airlines move to counter the new Qantas-Emirates alliance. British Airways (BA), Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines are among the carriers that are offering discounted deals, which in some cases are thousands of dollars cheaper than similar fares last year.
Flight Centre Limited managing director Graham Turner said the deals were being offered in all travel classes and, in some cases, were available during the upcoming peak summer season.
"Generally, airlines are reacting quickly to the recent change in market dynamics brought about by the Qantas-Emirates relationship and are taking positive steps to maintain their positions on the highly competitive Australia-UK route. This is great news for travellers and it's already delivering some bargain airfare deals through to London and Europe." Mr Turner said.
"The discounting that is currently underway between the premium carriers, coupled with the aggressive pricing we are seeing at the bottom end of the market, means that 2013 is shaping as a great time for Australian travellers to take off to the UK and Europe."
To identify the savings, Flight Centre analysed fares that were available on April 5, 2013 - less than a week after the Qantas-Emirates alliance officially began - and compared them to similar fares that were available last year. On BA, a return economy fare from Sydney to London is currently available from $1778, $849 less than the $2627 fare that was available last year.
Flight Centre's current return premium economy fare from Sydney to London on BA - $2990 - is $2120 cheaper than last year's premium economy fare and only marginally more expensive than last year's economy fare. Business class travellers are now being offered a $7241 deal, compared to a $9954 fare last year, while first class passengers can take off for $10,750, $3004 less than last year's $13,754 offer.
Cathay's current deals include a $3940 premium economy fare to London, which compares to a $4901 offer last year. Malaysia Airlines has an economy fare from $1693 ($1925 last year) and a business class fare from $5640 ($8652 last year). Flight Centre's cheapest advertised return economy class fare to London was $1392 on April 5, 2013.