Australian national carrier Qantas has announced plans to enhance its international operations during the forthcoming Northern hemisphere winter schedule with increased capacity or flight options to Hong Kong, Los Angeles and the New Zealand markets of Auckland and Christchurch. The improvements have been made possible through schedule optimisation and the ongoing transformation efforts within the airline’s international division.
The network changes will see the introduction of a brand seasonal route between Perth and Auckland to support the strong demand over the busy Christmas and holiday period. The twice weekly Airbus A330 service will operate between December 6, 2013 and February 1, 2014 and will end the current monopoly of Air New Zealand on the route. In 2012 an estimated 126,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled between the two cities. Qantas already has a notable 23 per cent share of this O&D demand via other points in Australia, while its low-cost business, Jetstar Airways has a further two per cent share of the traffic.
Also in New Zealand, Qantas will retime its existing Sydney – Christchurch service so that it connects with more international services from Sydney and complements the existing Emirates Airline service on this route. In 2012 an estimated 321,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew on this route.
“We’re able to make these changes by simply using our existing assets better,” said Alan Joyce, chief executive officer, Qantas Group. “For instance, the new seasonal Perth to Auckland service uses an A330 that would otherwise be on the ground over the weekend. All of these network changes also boost the prospects for inbound tourism, particularly in an environment where a falling dollar makes Australia an even more attractive destination.”
Away from New Zealand, Qantas will increase capacity on its Sydney – Hong Kong route by introducing an Airbus A380 on an additional weekly flight from November 4, 2013, increasing the number of A380 return services on this route from four to five per week. This aircraft switch will boost capacity on the route by around five per cent after an earlier increase this year.
“The Qantas Group is serious about Asia and we’ve already increased capacity to Hong Kong by ten per cent this year. As well as adding almost five per cent more seats per week on this route, the aircraft swap will increase the amount of flying done by our flagship A380 fleet into Asia,” said Joyce.
The introduction of the A380 on the additional Hong Kong flight will help facilitate an increased frequency on Qantas’ Brisbane – Los Angeles link with the introduction of a seventh weekly flight from December 2, 2013, all operated using Boeing 747-400 equipment. The launch of the daily schedule will boost overall weekly capacity on the route by 15 per cent.
“Our Brisbane to Los Angeles service is a strong performer and upgrading it to daily will improve the travel options for customers heading to the United States from Queensland, which has great links to our domestic and regional networks,” said Joyce.
Details of the plans were revealed as Qantas celebrated the first day of its new trans-Tasman partnership with Emirates Airline. The two airlines have aligned fares and switched on codesharing on around 130 flights a week between Australia and New Zealand. The schedule change on Sydney-Christchurch and the new Perth-Auckland route are in-part enabled through this partnership.
“At the core of turning around Qantas International is making it the best airline for global travellers. These network changes are brought about through smarter use of our assets and our partners to deliver a truly premium experience service for our customers,” said Joyce.