Oceania consists of three main sub regions, namely Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, and the broader region between Southeast Asia and the Americas. Air transport is vital to the region of Oceania due to the vast distance to and from the region. The geographical location of Oceania makes air transport a necessity in the region. Oceania is also a preferred tourist destination with many popular activities and places to visit. The demand for air transport in the region has led to an increased number of domestic and international airlines servicing the region. The network of air transport in the region comprises of alliances, feeder routes, and hubs, with the level of development varying from country to country.
Largest Airlines by Passenger Count
Qantas is the largest airline in Australia and the Oceania region by fleet size and by number of domestic and international passengers. Established in 1935, the airline is among the three oldest airlines in the world. Qantas serves 41 domestic and international destinations which cover about 14 countries across five continents. With a passenger flight size of 272, the airline served 48.3 million domestic and international passengers in 2013, up from 46.7 million in 2012.
Virgin Australia is the second largest airline in Australia by fleet size and passenger count. It is also one of the newest airlines in the Oceania region, having been established in 1999. The success of the Virgin Australia has coincided with the collapse of Ansett Australia. Virgin Australia serves 29 cities in Australia and together with Virgin Australia Holdings, the airline serves 50 domestic and international destinations. In 2013, Virgin Australia served 16.7 million domestic and international passengers.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand operates scheduled passenger flights to 52 destinations including 31 international destinations. The airline serves mainly the Pacific Rim and the UK as part of its international destinations. Air New Zealand has a passenger fleet size of 103, consisting mainly of Boeing and Airbus aircrafts for both domestic and international flights. The airline served about 13.4 million passengers in 2013, up from 13.1 million in 2012.
Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii’s largest airline and one of the largest commercial airlines in the United States. With a passenger fleet size of 51 aircrafts, the airline served 9.9 million domestic and international passengers in 2013, up from 9.5 million in 2012. It operates flights to over 28 destinations including Asia and the Oceania region.
Air Niugini Limited
Air Niugini Limited is Papua New Guinea’s national carrier operating a domestic network and international services in Oceania and Asia. It was established in 1973 exclusively as a domestic carrier but expanded rapidly to offer international services. Air Niugini operates to 39 destinations, including 14 international destinations in over 10 countries. With a passenger fleet size of 31 aircraft, the airline served 1.5 million domestic and international passengers in 2013.
Other Major Airlines in Oceania
Apart from the five airlines discussed above, the Oceania region is also served by some of the largest airlines and national carriers of countries within the Oceania region. These airlines include Regional Express Holding, Fiji Airways, Air Tahiti, and Aircalin. Of these four airlines, only Regional Express Holding served more than one million domestic and international passengers in 2013. The four airlines have a combined total fleet of fewer than 80 aircrafts. Air Tahiti service has more international destinations (47) compared to the rest of the airlines.