- Latest government data shows Qantas most punctual major domestic airline for sixth months in a row.
- Performance impacted by severe weather, air traffic control delays.
- Qantas and Jetstar domestic capacity increasing in March; will exceed pre-COVID levels in April quarter.
- Record response to recent release of international Frequent Flyer reward seats with 1.2 billion points used on a single day.
- The Group is preparing for a bumper Easter school holiday period with several million passengers expected to fly.
Qantas was the most on-time domestic airline in February, the sixth consecutive month it has beaten its major competitor, as the national carrier continues to get back to its best.
Almost eight out of ten Qantas flights (78.3 per cent) departed on time during the month, in line with pre-COVID performance levels. Cancellations were higher across the major airlines due to the impact of weather, including Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle and major thunderstorms in Sydney.
Ongoing Air Traffic Control staffing shortages impacted operations at Sydney Airport on 25 days out of 28 in February. This resulted in a 2.5 percentage point drop in on-time flights and 76 cancellations. Qantas is disproportionately impacted as 77 per cent of its domestic fleet operates through Sydney each day.
DOMESTIC CAPACITY INCREASES
The strong operational performance means Qantas is well placed to keep increasing capacity to meet continued high levels of travel demand.
As previously announced, from Monday Qantas will significantly increase flights on the Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane triangle by 57 additional return services per week, increasing capacity by 11 points to 93 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
Qantas is also adding seats on transcontinental services to-and-from Perth using the airline’s Airbus A330 fleet. Following this change, around 50 per cent of Qantas’ flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Perth will be operated by widebody aircraft.
Over the next six months, Jetstar is boosting its domestic and international flying capacity by around 15 percentage points, with another four new Airbus A321neo LR aircraft expected to join its growing fleet, bringing the total number of these next-generation aircraft to nine.
The airline is adding a fourth weekly flight over the Easter holidays on its popular Melbourne to Margaret River (Busselton) service, boosting capacity by up to 1000 seats over the peak.
Overall, Group domestic capacity will increase to 102 per cent in the April quarter, up from 98 this quarter.
Qantas and Jetstar are also set to expand a number of international services from 26 March onwards as the global airline industry continues to recover, including:
- Qantas Melbourne-Tokyo (Haneda) restarts
- Qantas Melbourne-Singapore increases from daily to up to 10 per week
- Qantas Brisbane-Singapore increases from six per week to daily
- Some Qantas Sydney-Hong Kong service up-gauged from an A330 to a A380 until June, when its Melbourne-Hong Kong service resumes
- Jetstar to launch new Brisbane-Auckland service
- Qantas to commence Melbourne-Jakarta service from 16 April.
Qantas Frequent Flyers can also now use their Qantas Points to travel with China Airlines to more than 75 destinations around the world, as part of the Group’s expanded agreement with the Taipei-based airline.
The increase in capacity comes as the Group gears up for another busy Easter holiday period.
Qantas and Jetstar expect to carry several million passengers across the three-week school holiday period.
Across the Easter long weekend (Thursday 6 April to Monday 10 April) more than 700,000 passengers are expected to travel on almost 5,300 domestic and international services across the Group.
Both Qantas and Jetstar will have additional employees and up to 20 aircraft on standby to provide additional buffer. Industry partners will have extra staff, with a particular focus on security screening points at peak times.
Travellers who have not yet booked for the holiday period are encouraged to look at mid-week fares, which tend to offer the best value.
On the back of its return to profit, the Group continues to invest heavily in the customer experience, with passengers continuing to take advantage of new initiatives and special offers:
- Following the extension of the commitment to 50 per cent more international reward-seat availability last month, Frequent Flyers used 1.2 billion points to redeem seats, smashing the one-day record of more than 600 million points.
- Almost 30,000 flights were booked for $39 across Jetstar’s domestic network in late February, with Gold Coast being the most popular destination.
- Qantas recently offered domestic fares as low as $99 in Economy and $499 in Business and saw a stronger response than its Boxing Day and December sales.
Qantas has also recently announced a number of improvements to the flying experience:
- This week Qantas announced a multi-million dollar investment in its on-board and in lounge dining options, with larger portions across all cabins and more high-quality ingredients from Australian producers.
- Lounge upgrades and refreshes are currently underway in Auckland, Adelaide, Port Hedland, and Hong Kong, and the airline has announced its biggest lounge investment in more than a decade.
- Qantas and Jetstar are giving customers a further 12 months to travel with their COVID credits.