Qantas will add more seats on routes to Asia from March 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 an Airbus A330 to a Boeing 747 aircraft – a 2.5 per cent 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.
The additional capacity comes as the number of visitors to Australia from Asia is forecast to grow by 6 per cent in 2015/16, and is on top of previously announced Qantas capacity increases to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Bali. Qantas confirmed today that its routes to-and-from Asia have been the biggest contributors to its international revenue growth so far in 2015/16.
Qantas continues to invest strongly in the customer experience on its Asian network, with a 14th refurbished A330 entering service this week – taking the airline’s A330 refresh project to the halfway point across its domestic and international fleet.
To enable the Asian growth and better reflect demand in the U.S. market, Qantas will reduce Sydney-Los Angeles flights from 10 per week to seven per week from April 2016.
Qantas customers will continue have the option of twice daily flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, with American Airlines to 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 the strong demand we’re seeing on the Dallas 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.
In net terms, these changes will add up to one less Qantas flight to the U.S. per day from April 2016 compared with the airline’s current schedule.
Total market capacity on Australia-U.S routes – across all airlines – is forecast to increase by a total of 6 per cent in 2015/16.
COMMENTS FROM QANTAS CEO, ALAN JOYCE:
“This growth is all about responding to the strong demand we’re seeing in a wide range of Asian markets.
“For the past 18 months, we’ve been taking a more dynamic, agile approach across our international network and this is another example of that strategy.
“We’re using our fleet more efficiently to give customers a greater choice of flights and more seats into Asia, at the same time as we meet demand for travel to North America in partnership with American Airlines.
“We’re still seeing strong demand on U.S. routes, but capacity growth in the market will trend down from about 9 per cent now to about 6 per cent in 2015/16 as a whole.
“The lower dollar seems to have more of a positive effect on demand into Australia than a dampening effect on travel demand out of the country. Australians tend to compensate for a weaker currency by simply spending less when they are away, rather than changing their destination altogether.”