Qantas has today announced a series of improvements to its international network, as part of a phased approach aimed at delivering the best offering of any airline flying between Australia and Asia.
The improvements, the first of which take effect from 31 March 2013, will be rolled out in four phases and go towards the Qantas Group strategy of ‘growing with Asia’. The planned phases are:
- Stronger links to the key hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong (better frequency and timings as well as increased dedicated capacity)
- Enhanced customer experience (improvements to cabin, in-flight entertainment, lounges)
- Expanded network within Asia through local partners (such as Japan Airlines, China Eastern, Jet Airways, Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines)
- Investigating an increase in destinations to Asia using the Qantas Group’s B787-9 options from 2016, coinciding with the turnaround of Qantas International (direct destinations under consideration include Beijing, Seoul, Mumbai, Delhi and Tokyo-Haneda).
The new Qantas lounge in Singapore will open on 31 March and the new Hong Kong First lounge is scheduled to open this September. A total of $9 million has been invested in the upgrades. Qantas is also examining a refresh of its international A330 fleet to include a lie-flat bed in Business Class.
Chief Executive Officer of Qantas International, Simon Hickey, said Asia remained a key pillar of the goal to be the best for global travellers. “Through a combination of Qantas, Jetstar and our partners we aim to provide the best travel options between Australia and Asia, all linked to one of the world’s leading frequent flyer programs,” said Mr Hickey. “Our first step has been to restructure existing services to Asia now that they are no longer tied to onward links to Europe. The number of dedicated seats on Qantas services to Hong Kong and Singapore is increasing significantly, because capacity previously set aside for customers going to Europe via these hubs can be freed up.
“The joint Qantas-Emirates network into Asia gives our customers a fresh set of options, including double daily services to Singapore from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The maturing Jetstar network gives travellers another set of alternatives once they land in Asia,” Mr Hickey added.
Key among the changes in the first phase of improving the Asia network, which will apply from today for travel after 31 March, are:
- Better access to the key Asian hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore, with a dedicated capacity increase of around 10 per cent and 40 per cent respectively on the Qantas network plus extended capacity on the Qantas-Emirates network
- Earlier arrival times into Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore, with flights brought forward by up to three hours to increase the number of onward connections
- A new destination, Kuala Lumpur, available to Qantas customers via the combined Qantas-Emirates network.
The Qantas-Emirates partnership remains subject to government and regulatory approval.
As part of schedule changes made today, Qantas is reducing its Perth-Singapore services to one per day and ceasing its Adelaide-Singapore and Perth-Hong Kong services. However, Qantas will increase its Brisbane-Hong Kong service from four per week to seven and add four additional Sydney-Singapore services per week (increasing to daily from June).
Qantas has also brought forward the end date for its loss-making Frankfurt services by six months to 15 April 2013.