Qantas confirms Asia core to future
In what is one of the Qantas Group’s most significant international schedule developments, the airline has unveiled an extensive range of measures aimed at firmly bolstering its position in Asia.
A four-phase strategy includes improved schedules to Hong Kong and Singapore, network expansion with airline partners in Asia, enhanced onboard and ground products, and the possible resumption of services to destinations from which the airline had previously withdrawn – including Beijing, Seoul, Mumbai, Delhi and Tokyo-Haneda – but using more efficient 787-9 aircraft.
Coinciding with the launch of its revised services to London in partnership with Emirates, the renewed push into Asia will begin on March 31. On that day Hong Kong will see a 10 per cent increase in capacity, while Singapore will be boosted by a significant 40 per cent.
Schedule times to Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok have been brought forward to by up to three hours to offer better connections with partner airlines to other Asian destinations (see table below).
On March 31 Qantas will open its new lounge in Singapore. A new Qantas First lounge will open in Hong Kong in September, with both lounge developments costing $9 million.
The new services make good on undertakings given by Qantas when it announced its proposed partnership with Emirates that it would apply a strong focus to the development of its Asia network.
While the airline considers the potential deployment of its 787-9s to be delivered from 2016, Qantas is also investigating the installation of lie-flat business class seats on its A330 international fleet to complement the Asia strategy.
Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey said Asia remained a central pillar to the airline’s business.
“Our first step has been to restructure existing services to Asia now that they are no longer tied to onward links to Europe,” he added. “The number of dedicated seats on Qantas services to Hong Kong and Singapore is increasing significantly, because capacity previously set aside for customers going to Europe via these hubs can be freed up.
“The joint Qantas-Emirates network into Asia gives our customers a fresh set of options, including double daily services to Singapore from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The maturing Jetstar network gives travellers another set of alternatives once they land in Asia,” Hickey said.
Qantas will codeshare on Emirates services between Singapore, Melbourne and Brisbane, Sydney and Bangkok, and Melbourne-Kuala Lumpur.
However, capacity increases will come at the expense of services connecting Perth and Hong Kong, and between Adelaide and Singapore, both of which will be terminated effective March 31 and April 14 respectively. Services between Perth and Singapore will be reduced to one a day from April 15.
Finally, the foreshadowed withdrawal from Frankfurt has been brought forward six months to April 15.
Route Change Effective New times
Melbourne-Hong Kong QF29 retimed March 31 0935/1710
Sydney-Hong Kong QF127 retimed March 31 0955/1725
Brisbane-Hong Kong QF97 to daily, re-timed May 6 (5x) 1020/1725
June 24 (7x)
Perth-Hong Kong Withdrawal March 31
Perth-Singapore Reduction, re-timed April 15 0950/1520
Brisbane-Singapore Re-timed April 15 1020/1605
Sydney-Singapore Increase to daily, From March 31 0940/1600
Melbourne-Singapore QF35 nonstop service April 15 0905/1555
Adelaide-Singapore Withdrawal April 14
Sydney-Bangkok Re-timed March 31 0940/1635