Qantas will deploy its flagship Airbus A380 daily to Dallas/Fort Worth from April 2016 as part of broader changes to the airline’s international network.
Currently, the oneworld alliance member serves Dallas/Fort Worth with six flights a week from its Sydney hub. However, it will add an extra service to the largest hub of its partner American Airlines to meet the strong demand on the route.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says Australians are still travelling to the US despite the weaker Australian dollar.
“We’re still seeing strong demand on US routes, but capacity growth in the market will trend down from about nine per cent now to about six per cent in 2015/16 as a whole,” Joyce said in a statement on Tuesday.
“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.”
Qantas also announced further tweaks to its North American network on Tuesday, including a reduction in A380-operated services on Sydney-Los Angeles. While the airline will maintain a daily service, six flights a week will be with the A380, with a Boeing 747-400 to operate the seventh flight.
Overall Qantas frequency on the Sydney-Los Angeles route will be reduced from 10 per week to seven per week. However, the entry of American on the route in partnership with Qantas gives passengers the choice of two daily flights. The Flying Kangaroo also has nine flights a week on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route, and a daily service between Brisbane and Los Angeles, and is returning to San Francisco in late December.
Separately, Qantas is replacing Airbus A330s with larger Boeing 747s on three of its seven flights a week between Melbourne and Hong Kong from March 2016, representing a 2.5 per cent increase in capacity to the city. The A330 would be redeployed to a yet-to-be-confirmed Asian route, Qantas said.
Qantas, which recently added extra flights on the Sydney-Hong Kong route in addition to seasonal frequency boosts to various Asian points, told an investor conference in Sydney its routes to-and-from Asia had been the biggest contributors to its international revenue growth so far in 2015/16.
“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,” Joyce said.
“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.”
Qantas said it had completed the reconfiguration of 14 of its 28 A330s with the new business class seats.