Over the last few months, Qantas has managed to get its act together and, in October, was Australia’s leading on-time performance airline. Jetstar has battled aircraft unavailability and staff shortages during winter and must make amends this peak summer season.
Today, the Qantas Group released an update on what both airlines are doing to get people where they need to be this Christmas and January holiday period. Based on the strong demand Qantas is experiencing, the group expects to carry more than eight million people over the holiday period. With Australia’s population sitting around 25.8 million, these two airlines have to move the equivalent of 30% of the country in the next eight to ten weeks.
With ticket prices so high that Qantas was accused of gouging their customers, passengers will be in no mood to handle delays, disruptions or cancellations. So what are Qantas and Jetstar doing to build the traveling public’s confidence this will all go to plan?
Qantas International is adding capacity
The first step is the AU$200 million of resources, including aircraft, pilots, cabin crews and service staff, that Qantas has on standby to be deployed when disruptions occur. Secondly, the group is adding more capacity and starting new international routes in the coming weeks.
Continuing their amazing comeback after life in the desert, another Airbus A380 is about to return to service. This is the sixth refurbished A380 back on active duty, with the aircraft expected back in operation by mid-December. Qantas is adding more capacity to Bali by switching from Boeing 737-800s to the larger Airbus A330s from December 5th to January 26th. At this time of year, travel between Australia and New Zealand soars, so Qantas is adding four extra weekly services between Sydney and Queenstown.
Fiji is another popular family holiday destination, and with restrictions gone, Qantas is adding another three return flights per week from Sydney to Nadi International (NAN) for six weeks from mid-December. A new four-times-weekly route from Sydney Airport (SYD) to Seoul Incheon (ICN) starts on December 10th, which adds to Jetstar’s new service on the same route. Yesterday flights started between Brisbane and Tokyo Haneda, with three return flights weekly on A330 aircraft.
Tomorrow Qantas inaugurates nonstop services between Melbourne Airport (MEL) and Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) in the US. The three times weekly flights will use a Boeing 787-9 and connect passengers to more than 200 cities with partner American Airlines. It is also taking some pressure off the existing Sydney to Dallas nonstop service. Qantas is also adding two extra weekly flights between Sydney and Honolulu for six weeks over the summer.
Jetstar is rebuilding with A321neos
Jetstar added its first Airbus A321neo in August, and three more will enter service in December and January. These are the A321LR variants that will initially operate on Australian domestic routes and to Bali, Indonesia. This is the same route strategy that Airbus, Qantas and Jetstar discussed when the A321LR was ordered more than a decade ago. Jetstar has also announced a new route between Sydney and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, which is scheduled to commence on June 29th, 2023.
Domestic is also adding capacity for the holidays
Qantas Group domestic capacity has reached 95% of pre-COVID levels and will undoubtedly be tested in the next few weeks. The Far North Queensland hub of Cairns is a tourist mecca this time of year, so Qantas is adding more than 11,000 seats between Sydney and Cairns (CNS). The existing schedule is 11 flights per week using a Boeing 737-800, but in December/January, it will switch to 19 return flights weekly on the Airbus A330.
The group is certainly rolling out the aircraft and seats to pull off a minor miracle and keep the system running smoothly through the holidays. For the sake of all those heading off on their first restriction-free holidays for some time, let’s hope Qantas and Jetstar make it happen.
Are you confident Australia’s airlines will operate up to scratch this summer? Let us know in the comments.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
- Year Founded:
- Alan Joyce