Qantas, rejoicing as its finances return to profit following a few rocky years, is looking forward to expansionary times on a number of fronts. A switch of capacity from the US to Asia is apparent.
Among new developments:
- Qantas will add more seats on routes to Asia from April 2016, responding to strong demand in the region.
The extra capacity will come from upgrading three of Qantas’ seven weekly Melbourne-Hong Kong services from A330 to a B747 aircraft which features the Qantas A380 inflight product. This is a 2.5% increase in Qantas’ total capacity to Hong Kong.
Qantas expects to use the A330 aircraft freed up by the Hong Kong changes to add further capacity on another Asian route, with several markets under consideration.
- To enable the Asian growth and better reflect demand in the US market, Qantas will cut Sydney-Los Angeles flights from 10 per week to seven per week from April 2016.
- Qantas says its customers will still have the option of twice daily flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, as its partner American Airlines will begin services on the route in December 2015, while Qantas will also begin Sydney-San Francisco services next month. Customers will also continue to have the option of nine flights per week from Melbourne to Los Angeles and daily flights from Brisbane.
- To meet strong demand on the Dallas/Fort Worth route, Qantas’ A380-operated services from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth will increase from six per week to daily from April 2016, connecting more Australians to American Airlines’ biggest hub.
- Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says Australians are still travelling to the US despite the weaker Australian dollar.
- The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the world’s largest frequent flyer program, American Airlines’ AAdvantage, is keen to form closer links with the Qantas frequent flyer scheme. The upside, the SMH point out, could be mutual upgrades on both airlines – a benefit forbidden under the Qantas-Emirates alliance, irking many Qantas frequent fliers.
- The Australian, meanwhile, reports that Qantas has regained its cherished investment grade credit rating from Standard & Poor’s after the airline moved out of BB+ junk status into BBB- for long-term debt and from B to A-3 for short-term debt.
Written by Peter Needham