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Qantas ramps up reserves ahead of big holiday peak

written by Jake Nelson | December 12, 2023

A Qantas 737-800, VH-VXT, outside the airline’s hangars at Sydney Airport. (Image: Qantas)

Qantas Group is bolstering its reserve capacity ahead of what it expects to be one of its busiest holiday peaks since before the pandemic.

Qantas and Jetstar anticipate more than 8.5 million passengers across 70,000 flights in December and January, over half a million more than the 2022–23 holiday period. 15 December is expected to be the busiest day, with more than 150,000 passengers.

In preparation for the predicted high demand, Qantas is taking several steps to ensure it has adequate reserves. Up to 13 jets including an A380 will be kept on standby as “operational spares”, reserve staff will be boosted in case of unexpected sick leave, and maintenance on Qantas and Jetstar aircraft has been brought forward.

Additionally, Qantas says it has recruited more than 3,300 operational employees over the past 12 months and is working with partners including ground handlers and security screeners to ensure there is extra staff available during peak periods.

“Qantas and Jetstar have been pulling out all stops to prepare for the summer peak to help ensure a safe and smooth travel experience at this extremely busy time,” the group said in a statement.


“Qantas has been the most on-time major domestic airline for the past 14 months and has had the lowest cancellations over the past six months as the airline remains focused on getting customers to their destinations on time more often.

“Jetstar has seen a big improvement in its performance leading into summer as supply chain issues subside and as new aircraft have joined its fleet.”

In total, Qantas said this year it is investing $230 million into fixing customer “pain points”, including adding more Frequent Flyer reward seats, overhauling its app, improving inflight catering, bolstering resourcing and training in contact centres, and implementing “more generous” customer recovery support when major flight delays occur.

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