Ansett collapse will hit all passengers

Qantas's decision not to buy Ansett Airlines from Air New Zealand has serious implications for all domestic air travellers in both ticket availability and fare levels.

It now seems inevitable that Ansett will stop flying altogether. Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Dixon, said Ansett's problems “are far too great for Qantas to take on”.

“Both the Government and the ACCC were supportive but in the end we felt such an acquisition would be a negative for Qantas,” he said.

FlightChoice advises consumers to book important flights now, especially if intending to fly at peak times of the day.

If Ansett goes into receivership and its planes are out of the sky, capacity will quickly fill up on Qantas and Virgin.

InfoChoice expects discount airfares to remain on the major trunk routes given Virgin's commitment to keep its existing fare structure, ie. a dual fare system with cheaper non-flexible economy tickets and more expensive refundable full-economy tickets.

Qantas will likely continue to compete directly with Virgin at the cheaper level.

However, fares at both levels are likely to rise above current prices. More on the airfare outlook.

It is doubtful whether another buyer for Ansett will emerge at this stage although it is possible Virgin blue may move to purchase one or more of the regional subsdiaries of Ansett.