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Qantas to add quarter of a million international seats

written by Jake Nelson | August 21, 2023

Victor Pody shot Qantas’s 787-9 Dreamliner, VH-ZNN ‘Snowy River’, upon its arrival at Melbourne Airport.

Qantas will add 250,000 international seats to its network as it approaches 100 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels, which it expects to reach in March 2024.

The Flying Kangaroo will use larger aircraft on several routes, including its three new 787 Dreamliners and its returned A380s, as well as increasing frequency on other routes. The carrier is currently at around 80 per cent of its pre-pandemic international traffic.

Qantas will first replace 737s with A330s on its Sydney-Bali route from October. Afterwards, starting in July 2024, Qantas A380s will operate for the first time between Sydney and Johannesburg; more A380 flights will increase capacity between Melbourne and Los Angeles by 20 per cent; and flights between Sydney and LA will increase from eight to nine per week using both 787s and A380s.

Finally, from August 2024, the Sydney–Auckland–New York route – which launched using 787s in June this year – will go from four per week to daily. The increased frequency adds to previously-announced Qantas international routes to launch in October, including new services from Brisbane to Honiara and Wellington, and the resumption of services between Sydney and Shanghai after three years.

Qantas International CEO Cam Wallace said the increased capacity will service heightened demand for international travel.


“Hundreds of thousands of extra seats on our network is great news for our customers planning their next overseas trip,” said Mr Wallace.

“We know our customers are looking for great value and this additional capacity will put more downward pressure on fares. The additional capacity will largely be made possible through our final two A380s returning to the Qantas fleet following heavy maintenance and cabin improvements.” 

Qantas in July took delivery of the last of a batch of three 787 Dreamliners that had been delayed two years. The airline is currently undergoing a major fleet renewal program, dubbed Project Winton, which means it will either buy or have purchase rights to up to 299 narrow-body and 12 wide-body aircraft for delivery over the next decade.

This includes nine more A321s that it will then convert into freighters; 12 Airbus A350-1000 jets to launch Project Sunrise; and 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 29 A220-300s to fly its domestic routes.

The latter includes an option to purchase up to 85 additional Airbuses through to 2034.

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