Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce has said Jetstar could offer $19 flights between Sydney and Melbourne when domestic flying restrictions are lifted.
Speaking to reporters after releasing a major company update, Joyce also reiterated that ‘Project Sunrise’ non-stop flights between London to Sydney were on hold, and hinted that big changes could be afoot for Jetstar Pacific.
“When we have flying back, we want to reduce that cash burn,” he said. “So we are looking at what airfares we need to fulfil the cash component of getting a plane back in the air.
“As an example, we’d be looking at Melbourne-Sydney on a Jetstar flight. If Jetstar were to cover its cash costs, the airfares could be half of what they are today… you could see Jetstar have $39 airfares, you could see $19 airfares, and we would still cover cash costs on those flights.”
He also said that while the airline remains committed to its ambitious Project Sunrise plans, the time for its launch is “not right now”.
“There’s still a good business case for it and a good opportunity for it, but we certainly won’t be ordering aircraft for that this year,” Joyce said.
In late March, Qantas and the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) reached an agreement to allow members to fly the route.
However, the business said then that its order for the 12 Airbus A350-1000s, necessary to travel non-stop from London and New York to Sydney, was delayed until after the pandemic eases.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, Qantas had a March deadline to place a multibillion-dollar order with Airbus for a new fleet of up to 12 A350-1000 jets to operate what would be the longest commercial flights in the world.
Finally, Joyce seemed to play down the long-term future of Jetstar Pacific, which Qantas holds a 30 per cent stake in.
“Even before COVID-19 [Jetstar Pacific] was struggling. We are talking to them about the process going forward and how they can take a leading role in that,” he added.
Earlier, Qantas said in a statement that it’s primed to restart flying at short notice between Australia and New Zealand, as speculation increases over a so-called trans-Tasman bubble.
The airline said that while it’s extending staff stand-downs and domestic network cancellations to July, it had scope to restart some services at “relatively short notice”.