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Qantas to add capacity ‘as quickly as possible’ despite earlier woes

written by Adam Thorn | November 23, 2022

Victor Pody shot this Qantas 717, VH-YQS

Qantas is making a fresh attempt to increase its domestic capacity despite a string of problems affecting its services earlier this year.

The Flying Kangaroo said in a statement on Tuesday that it would increase seats for sale “as quickly as possible” in the second half of the year but added it could still maintain “operational reliability”.

Earlier this year, Qantas ranked as the worst airline for cancellations as it battled staff shortages and sickness absences, but this week bounced back to be the top-performing carrier.

The Flying Kangaroo said the turnaround was due to investing $200 million for the remainder of the financial year to roster additional crew, train new recruits and pay for overtime in contact centres.

It also said it had put in place a new “conservative” approach to scheduling that meant 20 per cent of its available seats would be left in reserve.


Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said, “It’s clear that maintaining our pre-COVID service levels requires a lot more operational buffer than it used to, especially when you consider the sick leave spikes and supply chain delays that the whole industry is dealing with.

“That means having more crew and more aircraft on standby and adjusting our flying schedule to help make that possible, until we’re confident that extra support is no longer needed.”

Across the industry, the domestic industry peaked at 97 per cent pre-pandemic passenger numbers in June, but it came alongside all-time records for delays being broken that month and in April and July.

Since then, the industry has recruited thousands of extra staff and cut flights to improve the passenger experience.

Tuesday’s news, however, suggests that Qantas will soon make a fresh attempt to begin to return to 100 per cent of pre-pandemic capacity.

It comes a day after Brisbane Airport revealed that at the busiest times, its domestic terminal will likely be at 100 per cent of 2019 passengers during the holidays.

The airport said it expects 55,000 people to pass through its domestic terminal on peak travel days, alongside 14,000 international passengers.

Until now, the busiest day at the airport since 2019 was in September this year, with 12,300 international travellers.

Brisbane Airport itself reported enjoying a “very smooth period” during the state’s recent school holidays, with the maximum wait time to pass through security peaking at only 20 minutes.

The organisation’s estimates backed up an independent analysis by Australian Aviation that showed it and Melbourne were coping well with the increase in numbers.

Overall delays and cancellations numbers are also nudging back to 2019 levels, with on-time arrivals at 69.3 per cent and on-time departures at 68.5 per cent.  

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Comment (1)

  • OC


    Qantas’ gouging of its customers will have long term ramifications.

    I haven’t flown with them since COVID and as a result my gold status now languishes at Bronze. Since started flying again earlier this year (at a rate of about 30 sectors a year) have flown EVERY sector with Virgin due to massive price differential. Now gold status with Virgin, Bronze with Qantas.

    I will not fly with Qantas even when they increase capacity and their fares are inline with the historical premium to Virgin. Lounge and other perks are worth much more than a crappy inflight snack to me. QAN’s red tail international fares haven’t been competitive for a decade plus and service has been abysmal for longer.

    In short the flying kangaroo won’t be seeing my coin for a long time if ever.

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