In response to the growing travel demand and the recovery of the aviation industry, Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, has unveiled plans to enhance its international network. The airline aims to restore capacity by adding extra flights, increasing its aircraft fleet, and introducing new routes.
One Million Additional Seats Over 12 Months
Starting in late October 2023, Qantas will offer approximately one million additional seats on its international network over a span of 12 months, compared to the current schedule.
This move is designed to provide customers with more options when travelling to popular destinations across Asia, the United States, and the Pacific.
Qantas will boost flying on the following routes from 29 October 2023:
- Melbourne – Los Angeles: Flights to increase from daily to nine per week, resulting in a capacity increase of around 60% with more A380Ss flying.
- Sydney – New York via Auckland: Flights to increase from three to four per week.
Australia to Tokyo
- Flights to double, increasing from 14 to 28 per week, offering the choice of four daily flights to Japan starting from November 26.
- Sydney – Tokyo: Frequency to increase from daily to double daily.
- Melbourne – Tokyo: Frequency to increase from four per week to daily.
- Brisbane – Tokyo: Frequency to increase from three per week to daily.
- Services from Melbourne and Brisbane will move to Narita Airport.
Sydney – Shanghai
- Flights to commence for the first time in more than three years with daily A330 flights.
Sydney – Hong Kong
- Capacity to be boosted by more than 50% over the peak Australian summer season, with daily flights to be operated by a mix of A380 and A330 aircraft.
Melbourne – Hong Kong
- Flights to increase from four per week to daily.
Melbourne – Singapore
- Flights to increase from 10 to 14 per week from March 31, 2024.
Sydney – Singapore
- Flights to increase from 14 to 15 per week from March 31, 2024.
Melbourne – Delhi
- Flights to increase from three to six per week over the peak Australian summer season.
Pacific and Tasman
Brisbane – Wellington
- New route to operate daily with E190 aircraft.
Brisbane – Honiara, Solomon Islands
- New route to operate three days per week with E190 aircraft.
Sydney – Christchurch
- Flights to increase from 11 to 14 per week.
Sydney – Queenstown
- Flights to increase by up to one per week, with up to 14 flights over the peak Australian summer season.
Combination of Strategies to Boost Capacity
To accommodate the increased capacity, Qantas will utilize a combination of strategies.
- First, more Qantas aircraft will return to service, ensuring a larger fleet is available to meet the growing demand.
- Second, new aircraft will be incorporated into the fleet, contributing to the overall expansion.
- Lastly, Qantas has forged an agreement with oneworld partner Finnair, allowing the operation of two Airbus A330 aircraft on two Qantas routes.
Projected Growth to Reach 100% of Pre-COVID Levels
As a result of these network changes, the Qantas Group’s international capacity is projected to reach approximately 100% of pre-COVID levels by March 2024. This represents a significant improvement from 44% a year ago and the current level of 84%.
Qantas has been able to achieve this growth by recruiting 2,400 pilots and cabin crew since the reopening of borders. An additional 300 personnel will be required by the end of the year to support the expanded operations.
Reintroduction of Aircraft and Fleet Expansion
Over the past six months, Qantas has already reintegrated five international aircraft into its fleet. Some of these planes were brought out of long-term storage, while others were on standby as operational spares during the industry’s stabilization phase.
In May, a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner joined the fleet, and two more are scheduled for delivery next month. Additionally, the most recent Qantas A380, which had been in storage in the desert, was reactivated in January.
Another A380 is slated to return to service at the end of the year following cabin maintenance and modifications.
Resumption of Flights and New Routes
In conjunction with this announcement, Qantas is preparing to resume its San Francisco flights next week. Moreover, the airline will launch its inaugural service from Sydney to New York via Auckland next month.
In June, Qantas will also reinstate seasonal services to Rome and flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong.
Positioning Qantas for Recovery and Growth
With these ambitious plans, Qantas is positioning itself to meet the evolving needs of travellers and capitalize on the resurgence of the aviation industry.
The expansion of the international network, together with the recruitment of new personnel and the incorporation of additional aircraft, will play a crucial role in strengthening Qantas’ global presence and facilitating the recovery of the travel sector.
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