Qantas has managed to secure additional slots and squeeze a bit more out of its international fleet to increase its Sydney-Hong Kong service to double-daily from the start of the “northern summer” scheduling season in April.
Since October 2015, the Flying Kangaroo has offered 11 flights a week between Sydney and Hong Kong with a mix of Boeing 747 and Airbus A330 aircraft.
The move to 14 flights a week starts on April 4 and continues until May 1, before dropping back to 13 flights a week for about two and a half months. The twice daily frequency resumes from July 18 to October 29.
Qantas said in a statement on Thursday the increase to double-daily was designed to maximise the available landing slots at Hong Kong International Airport during the “northern summer” scheduling period.
Moving to two flights a day on the Sydney-Hong Kong route has been an ambition of the airline for some time. However, a lack of available slots meant the airline was only able to grow from seven to 11 flights a week in October 2015.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said it was the slot situation rather than the bilateral air services agreement between Hong Kong and Australia that was hindering Qantas’s efforts to grow its operations in the territory.
“You might have open access or more access in the bilateral but if you don’t have the slots it is academic,” Joyce told reporters in September 2015 after speaking at an industry lunch.
“Unfortunately until the third runway is built in Hong Kong it means there is limited growth opportunities for Australian carriers compared to Hong Kong-based carriers and that needs to be recognised in any bilateral discussions.
“We’ve got plenty of room to grow in the current bilateral, the trouble is we can’t get the slots to grow.”
Qantas also flies daily to Hong Kong from Melbourne and Brisbane.