Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has again suggested that Qantas will secure “at least” a 70 per cent share of the domestic market, despite Virgin in March knocking the Flying Kangaroo down to a 67 per cent share.
Speaking with CNN, Joyce said, “We’ll have 70 per cent domestic share at least, a lot better than we had pre-COVID – that’s where we make the bulk of our money.”
He made the comment after suggesting that come Christmas, Qantas will be “back domestically to over 100 per cent of pre-COVID schedule”.
“Actually, for the second half of the [financial] year, from January to June, we’re forecasting 110 per cent so we’ll be bigger domestically,” Joyce added.
The comments come despite Virgin already sending Qantas’ domestic market share down below 70 per cent in March, as all airlines enjoyed strong domestic demand prior to the current Delta outbreak in Sydney and Melbourne.
Virgin recently revealed that it continues to target a 33 per cent share of the overall domestic market, as it placed a new order for nine additional 737-800 NGs.
Joyce said that Qantas is already prepared to ramp up its domestic capacity once more and reclaim market share.
“We are very ready. The great thing is with all the aircraft activated, we’re in a position where we’ve been training our pilots and cabin crew to be able to get back and be ready,” he said.
The Qantas chief said while the airline is gearing up to re-start international operations in December, budget subsidiary Jetstar could resume its international network in 2022.
However, the eventual re-opening relies upon 80 per cent of the Australian adult population being vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as the Australian government easing certain requirements for vaccinated travellers, such as two-week hotel quarantine.
“There’s still lots of things to be decided between now and then,” Joyce said. “One, we have to get the 80 per cent vaccination rate and uptake here has just been amazing… So I think we’ll get there.
“We also need to resolve this hotel quarantine issue.”
Joyce said that “hopefully” vaccinated travellers would be able to isolate at home after returning to Australia, until they receive a negative COVID test.
The Qantas chief also again noted that travel is likely to only be viable to countries with high vaccination rates “at least to start”.
“We think the west coast of the US is definitely there, London, Canada, Singapore and Tokyo — it’s a big operation that we could parole,” he said.
“And the [Australian] government, the prime minister and the rest of the government, have said that looks like a valid plan but still we have to see how this develops over the next few months.”
Joyce has said that Australians are ready and willing to travel overseas as soon as borders re-open, once the government provides clarity on these issues.
“When we looked at the research… The desire to travel once the borders open up and it’s safe to do is massive. It’s three times the levels it normally is in Australia,” Joyce said.
“There’s a lot of pent up demand to visit friends or relatives, to take that holiday.”
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