Qantas boss Alan Joyce has hinted his flying kangaroo airline will be a position to charge customers more as its rival Virgin Australia shrinks to survive.
Queensland is expected to reopen its borders to New South Wales before Christmas - nine months after sealing Coolangatta on the Gold Coast from Tweed Heads.
Tasmania is expected to follow suit as Western Australia delayed reopening until 2021.
With Australian state borders set to reopen by next year, Mr Joyce boasted Qantas would have more than two-thirds of Australia's domestic airline market - sparking concern from the competition regulator.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce has hinted his flying kangaroo airline will be a position to charge customers more as its rival Virgin Australia shrinks to survive
'In fact, over time, our domestic market share is likely to increase organically from around 60 per cent to around 70 per cent, as our main competitor changes its strategy,' he told the Qantas annual general meeting on Friday morning.
Qantas shares surged 2.6 per cent to $4.54 as Mr Joyce bragged to shareholders, even though the broader Australian Securities Exchange was slipping.
The 100-year-old airline's share price has more than doubled since bottoming out at $2.14 in March as Australia closed its border to foreign tourists.
Jayne Hrdlicka, the former boss of Qantas budget carrier Jetstar, is the new chief executive of Virgin Australia tasked with slashing costs, under new American private equity owner Bain Capital.
Jayne Hrdlicka, the former boss of Qantas budget carrier Jetstar, is the new chief executive of Virgin Australia who will be charged with slashing costs, under new American private equity owner Bain Capital. She is pictured with Alan Joyce in October 2013
Mr Joyce, who was previously Ms Hrdlicka's boss, is expecting demand for domestic flights to surge as Australia continued to stop its citizens from leaving and banned non-citizens and non-residents from arriving.
'With most international travel off limits for a while, we're expecting to see a boom in domestic tourism once more borders open up,' he said.
'The group is very well positioned to make the most of that opportunity.'
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would ensure Qantas did not break the law, even though it has no direct control over prices.
'The ACCC is monitoring air passenger transport services in the airline industry and is reporting to government on a regular basis, including on the state of competition in the industry,' the regulator told Daily Mail Australia.
'If the ACCC identifies any concerning behaviour it may take enforcement action or recommend policy options to government to address any diminishing levels of competition within the industry.'
As Western Australia and Tasmania reopened to the rest of Australia in 2021, Mr Joyce boasted Qantas would have more than two-thirds of Australia's domestic airline market
Greg Smith, the head of research with funds manager and share market advisory group Fat Prophets, said the border closures had given Qantas the chance to grow its domestic market share.
Before the pandemic, Qantas already had a 60 per cent market share, despite Virgin making losses during eight of the previous ten financial years in a bid to have a bigger slice of the air travel dollar.
'Virgin is going to be a smaller airline than it was - that provides an opportunity for Qantas to grow domestic market share,' Mr Smith told Daily Mail Australia.
'They might get up towards 70 per cent once domestic capacity opens up completely.'
While 2020 has been an 'unprecedentedly traumatic' time for airlines, Mr Smith said the eventual opening up of travel to New Zealand would leave Qantas much better placed than Virgin to capitalise on the resumption of international flights.
Mr Joyce bragged that Qantas would more market share as 'our main competitor changes its strategy'. Pictured are Virgin Australia planes parked at Sydney Airport