AUSTRALIA’s flag carrier announced yesterday more services on its Sydney-Dallas (Fort Worth) and Perth-Melbourne routes, but remained tight-lipped about any further route cuts or additions to its international network.
After a first year of operation on the Dallas (Fort Worth) route and a successful codeshare with American Airlines on flights from around 60 destinations, Qantas will increase the frequency of the route from six weekly to daily from July 1. It is served by Boeing 747-400ER.
Qantas will also increase A330 services from 44 to 68 a week on the Perth-Melbourne connection from October 15, replacing flights currently operated by Boeing 767 aircraft.
As part of its restructuring efforts, Qantas has already dropped Singapore-Mumbai and Auckland-Los Angeles routes, as well as consolidated its A380 services from Sydney and Melbourne to London via Singapore. It no longer flies to London via Hong Kong and Bangkok, but now codeshares on those flights with its alliance partner British Airways.
These changes are already bearing some fruit, John Simeone, head of international sales, Qantas Airways, told TTG Asia e-Daily.
“On our Sydney-Singapore-London and Melbourne-Singapore-London flights, the A380s are performing above expectations. They are very popular with customers. Hong Kong and Bangkok are performing as expected.
“We’re also seeing good traction in terms of passengers transferring through Hong Kong and Bangkok. Now that we’re selling it in a different way, we’re seeing a different type of traveller, people who are using Bangkok as a layover for two or three days, both from Europe and from Australia.”
According to Simeone, Qantas' Brisbane-Singapore service was also faring strongly, although he was unable to reveal load factors.
When asked if Qantas intended to expand its footprint in Asia, Simeone said: “We’re really at a ‘pick and stick’ phase at the moment…We need to focus on the core routes we have in terms of improving our international performance.”
As for plans to establish a premium airline in Asia following the failed talks with Malaysia Airlines (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 9, 2012), Simeone said: “We’re reviewing a variety of options…our international strategy is around our gateways – that’s probably the strategy we’re sticking to.”