Category Archives: QANTAS Airways

QANTAS International seeks termination of crew agreement to resolve critical rostering challenge

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

Qantas International has applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate its Long Haul Cabin Crew agreement as a last resort to change restrictive and outdated rostering processes. There are no job losses associated with the proposed termination.

This is the first time in Qantas’ history that it has sought to terminate an enterprise agreement. It follows six months of negotiation with the Flight Attendants’ Association of Australia (FAAA) and other bargaining representatives for a new enterprise agreement that was rejected by both the union and 97 per cent of crew who voted.

The rejected four-year deal included a pay increase and increased allowances. It also sought to simplify complex and historical rostering conditions that meant around 20 per cent of more than 2,500 long haul crew could only be used on a single type of aircraft – which is unworkable as the airline seeks to recover from COVID.

The need for change to rostering processes was recognized by the Fair Work Commission in an earlier decision[1] relating to bargaining for the agreement.

The FAAA’s counter-offer represented a $60 million cost increase over four years – which is also unworkable.

CEO of Qantas International, Andrew David, said: “Asking to terminate the current agreement is the last thing we want, but we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Our best offer, which incorporated several union demands, was rejected by 97 per cent of crew who voted.

“We’re seeking termination because we can’t effectively run our business without the rostering changes we desperately need to properly restart our international network in a post-COVID world.

“The challenges facing airlines are pretty obvious and, even though we’re flying internationally again, it’s clear that we have to operate in a more agile and flexible way than we did pre-COVID in order to recover and match customer demand. The level of complexity we’re dealing with is huge.

“The FAAA ran a scare campaign against the new deal, claiming it would mean redundancies and offshoring despite the fact that we’re currently hiring new crew in Australia. The union’s default position is that the company can’t be trusted and should always give more. That’s simply wrong.

“Termination of the agreement would see crew revert to the modern award, which is the safety net for the industry, while a new agreement is negotiated. Given both the current agreement and the offer we put on the table have pay and conditions significantly higher than the modern award, we clearly don’t want to cut people’s pay. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t let us pick and choose which bits of the current agreement are terminated in order to get the crucial rostering flexibility we need.

“I know our people will be disappointed that it has come to this and so are we. We’re open to putting the same deal that was rejected back on the table, but that would require a change of heart from a union that has continually misrepresented the facts.

“We have sold land, mortgaged aircraft and raised money from shareholders to get through this pandemic. The government has provided hundreds of millions in direct funding to our employees while they were stood down. We don’t think the flexibility we’re asking from our international crew is unreasonable given the challenges we continue to face,” added Mr David.

The Fair Work Commission is expected to start dealing with the termination application over the coming weeks, with Qantas requesting the hearing be expedited.

Qantas’ international flying is expected to remain at around 20 per cent of pre-COVID levels for the next few months, increasing from April onwards as Omicron-related restrictions ease overseas.

This is the third time the FAAA and Qantas have been before the Commission regarding this round of bargaining.

BACKGROUND ON KEY ROSTERING CHANGE

  • Airlines around the world are switching to far more dynamic schedules, where different aircraft types are used at short notice to deal with spikes in demand for passengers and freight. (For instance, shifting between an A330 and an A380.) This has been a key response to the instability of the past two years and likely represents a permanent shift for the industry.
  • Under the current enterprise agreement, Qantas International crew are limited to working on Airbus A330s only, or on Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s only.
  • The change Qantas seeks would enable all crew to be trained to work across all three wide-body aircraft types. In practical terms, this significantly broadens the different destinations crew can travel to and increases flexibility for both Qantas and its crew.
  • An added complexity of the current agreement is that it has two different rostering systems, which Qantas wants to rationalize to one that already applies to 80 per cent of crew.
  • Overall, these changes would give Qantas more flexibility in how it manages its international operations and competes with airlines that are already doing this.

BACKGROUND ON TERMINATING ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS

Under Section 226 of the Fair Work Act, the Commission must terminate an expired agreement if it:

  • is satisfied that it is not contrary to the public interest to do so, and
  • the Commission considers that it is appropriate to terminate the agreement taking into account all the circumstances including:
    • the views of the employees, each employer, and each organization (if any), covered by the agreement, and
    • the circumstances of those employees, employers and organizations including the likely effect that the termination will have on each of them.

[1] As part of this decision, Fair Work Commissioner Ryan said, “I accept [Qantas’] evidence regarding Qantas’ position that it requires greater flexibility in [the proposed new agreement] to respond to the uncertainty of international travel”. The same decision found that Qantas had acted in accordance with good faith bargaining in its dealings with the FAAA and employees.

QANTAS and Jetstar adjust their schedules due to surging COVID-19 cases

QANTAS Airways issued this statement:

Qantas and Jetstar are adjusting flying levels to better match travel demand in light of the sudden growth in COVID-19 cases.

The Qantas Group now expects domestic capacity for the third quarter of FY22 to be at around 70 per cent of pre-COVID levels, down from the 102 per cent that had been planned.

The schedule changes are focused on reducing frequency of services and size of aircraft to minimize inconvenience for passengers as much as possible.

The Group’s total international capacity for the same period will fall from 30 per cent to around 20 per cent of pre-COVID levels. This reduction is driven by increased travel restrictions in countries like Japan, Thailand and Indonesia and is mostly impacting Jetstar’s leisure routes. Other markets – such as London, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Johannesburg and India – continue to perform well.

Customers will be contacted directly from late January if their booking is impacted by cancellations and offered alternative flights that in most cases are likely to be a difference of a few hours if travelling domestically.

Qantas and Jetstar continue to have 100 per cent of their available Australian-based crew stood up, which has helped to minimise the resourcing impacts of some needing to self-isolate during the summer peak. This 100 per cent crewing level will be maintained despite the capacity reductions announced today, giving both airlines a significant buffer to manage ongoing isolation requirements and resulting in a more reliable schedule for passengers.

An assessment on the financial impact of these changes will be given at the Group’s half year results in late February, by which time a clearer picture will have emerged on swing factors such as actual demand levels; potential loosening or tightening of travel restrictions in countries overseas; and consumer response to the reopening of Western Australia next month. No material adjustments have been made to capacity expectations for Q4 FY22.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “The sudden uptick in COVID cases is having an obvious impact on consumer behaviour across various sectors, including travel, but we know it’s temporary.

“Thankfully, Australia has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates and the Omicron variant is milder than its predecessors. So, as challenging as this current phase is, we’re optimistic that it is likely to fast track a return to normal.

“People are already looking beyond what’s happening now with early bookings for the Easter holidays in April looking promising for both domestic and international.

“We have the flexibility to add capacity back if demand improves earlier than expected, but 70 per cent still represents a lot of domestic flying and it’s a quantum improvement on the levels we faced only a few months ago.

“Our focus on cash positive flying remains, notwithstanding some of the costs that we’ll have to absorb from this sudden drop in demand.

“Can I thank our people who have done an outstanding job of helping over a million Australians travel over the summer holidays, and to our customers for their ongoing understanding as we make our way through these latest challenges. This is a difficult time right across the community, but something we’ll get through,” added Mr Joyce.

QANTAS brings the Airbus A380 back to LAX

LAX made this announcement on social media:

QANTAS to bring back the Airbus A380 early

QANTAS Airways will bring back Airbus A380 VH-OOB to active status after two years of being grounded.

The A380 will replace Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on flights to Queensland starting on January 11, 2022 due to the current 14-day isolation rule for flight crews.

The A380 will also be assigned to the Sydney – Los Angeles route on the same day.

QANTAS goes with Airbus for domestic fleet renewal, will add 20 A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

  • Airbus A320neo and Airbus A220 families selected as preferred aircraft types.
  • In-principle agreement for up to 134 orders and purchase right options over 10 plus years with deliveries from FY24 onwards.
  • Combines with existing Jetstar order to give the Qantas Group significant flexibility on timing and aircraft type/size.
  • Order is expected to be finalized by the end of FY22.

Qantas has selected the Airbus A320neo and Airbus A220 families as the preferred aircraft for the long-term renewal of its domestic narrow-body fleet.

A firm commitment for 40 aircraft – 20 A321XLR (extra long-range) and 20 A220 aircraft – is expected to be placed with Airbus by the end of FY22, following discussions with employees about arrangements to operate the new aircraft types and a final decision by the Qantas Board.

Qantas will also have a further 94 purchase right options[1] on aircraft over a 10-plus year delivery window as its existing Boeing 737-800s and 717s are gradually phased out.

The order is in addition to Jetstar’s existing agreement with Airbus for over 100 aircraft in the A320neo family. Part of this new deal includes combining these two orders so that the Group can draw down on a total of 299 deliveries across both the A320 and A220 families as needed over the next decade and beyond for Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar.

Once finalized, this will represent the largest aircraft order in Australian aviation history.

Financial details of the deal are commercial in confidence but represent a material discount from list prices.

Today’s announcement follows a detailed review by the airline’s engineering, flight operations, customer experience, network, fleet procurement and finance teams. The airline conducted detailed evaluation of the A320neo and B737 MAX families as well as the smaller A220 and Embraer E190/195-E2s.

SELECTED AIRCRAFT

The initial firm order concentrates on the larger, single-aisle A321XLR, and the mid-size A220-300 with purchase right options for the smaller A220-100, giving Qantas a fleet mix that can deliver better network choices and route economics.

The XLR can carry around 15 per cent more passengers on each flight than the airline’s existing B737-800s, making it well suited to busy routes between capital cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Its longer range means it can also be used to open up new city pairs.

The small and medium size A220s provide the Group with flexibility to deploy these aircraft throughout most of its domestic and regional operations. They could be used during off peak times between major cities and on key regional routes to increase frequency.

Both aircraft types will be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines and will deliver fuel savings of between 15-20 per cent, contributing to the airline’s broader emission reduction efforts.

CEO COMMENTARY

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline had called the renewal of its domestic fleet Project Winton after the town where the national carrier was born 101 years ago, because it’s a key strategic decision for the future of Qantas Domestic.

“This is a long-term renewal plan with deliveries and payments spread over the next decade and beyond, but the similarly long lead time for aircraft orders means we need to make these decisions now.

“Qantas is in a position to make these commitments because of the way we’ve navigated through the pandemic, which is a credit to the whole organization.

“This is a clear sign of our confidence in the future and we’ve locked in pricing just ahead of what’s likely to be a big uptick in demand for next-generation narrow-body aircraft. That’s good news for our customers, our people and our shareholders.

“We’ll be having discussions with our people to ensure we have the arrangements necessary to support such a large investment.

“Can I thank Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and the engine manufacturers for the efforts they put into this process. This was a very tough choice to make. Each option delivered on our core requirements around safety, capability and emissions reductions. But when you multiply even small benefits in areas like range or cost across this many aircraft and over the 20 years they’ll be in the fleet, Airbus was the right choice as preferred tenderer.

“The Airbus deal had the added advantage of providing ongoing flexibility within the order, meaning we can continue to choose between the entire A320neo and A220 families depending on our changing needs in the years ahead. The ability to combine the Jetstar and Qantas order for the A320 type was also a factor.

“The A320 will be new for Qantas Domestic, but we already know it’s a great aircraft because it’s been the backbone of Jetstar’s success for more than 15 years and more recently operating the resources industry in Western Australia.

“The A220 is such a versatile aircraft which has become popular with airline customers in the United States and Europe because it has the capability to fly regional routes as well as longer sectors between capital cities.

“The combination of small, medium and large jets and the different range and economics they each bring means we can have the right aircraft on the right route.

“For customers, that means having more departures throughout the day on a smaller aircraft, or extra capacity at peak times with a larger aircraft. Or the ability to start a new regional route because the economics of the aircraft make it possible.

“We have some exciting plans for the next-generation cabins we’ll put on these aircraft, which will offer improvements for passengers that we’ll share in coming months.

“Importantly, these aircraft will deliver a step change in reducing fuel burn and carbon emissions compared with our current fleet, which gets us closer to the net zero target we’ve set,” added Mr Joyce.

AIRCRAFT SPECIFICATIONS

Note: Aircraft information has been sourced from manufacturers’ websites. Specifications are indicative only and not reflective of the specifications of any potential aircraft order by Qantas.

Airbus A320 family

  • Includes the Airbus A320neo and A321neo
  • A320neo seats – from 150 to 180 for a two-class configuration. 6,300km range
  • A321neo seats – from 180 to 220 for a two-class configuration. 7,400km range
  • A321XLR seats – from 180 to 220 for a two-class configuration. 8,700km range
  • The A320neo family offers fuel improvements of 14 per cent from A320ceos
  • 50 per cent quieter than the A320ceos
  • Pratt & Whitney GTF (PW1100G-JM) engines

Airbus A220

  • Specifically designed for the 100-150 seat market
  • More than 20 per cent lower fuel burn per seat than B717s, half the noise footprint, and decreased emissions
  • Up to 6,390km range
  • Pratt & Whitney GTF (PW1500G) engines

[1] Purchase right options provide the Qantas Group with a firm price and preferred access to delivery slots with
flexibility to match deliveries to demand.

QANTAS to restore the Rome route on June 22, 2022

 

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

Qantas will reignite its love affair with Rome, adding direct flights from Australia to the eternal city from the middle of next year.

From June 22, 2022, Qantas will operate the only direct service between Australia and continental Europe, flying three return Sydney-Perth-Rome flights per week to meet demand over the European holiday peak season.

The new flight will cut more than three hours off the current fastest travel time to Rome using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with cabins designed specifically for long haul travel.

Customers will be able to combine Qantas’ Rome flights with its double-daily direct flights between Australia and London, meaning they will be able to fly in and out of different cities on one return ticket through to October 2022.

Qantas recently started new flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Delhi and re-started a number of existing routes from Sydney and Melbourne to destinations including Los Angeles, London and Singapore.

The seasonal route will operate from June 22 until October 6, 2022. Qantas will offer connections to 16 destinations in Europe including Athens, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Nice, Madrid and Paris and 15 destinations within Italy including Milan and Venice.

QANTAS purchases sustainable aviation fuel for the Kangaroo Route

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

Qantas will purchase blended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from next month, helping to reduce its carbon emissions by around 10 per cent for its flights from London.

It is the first time an Australian airline will purchase SAF on an ongoing basis for regular scheduled services.

The national carrier has signed an agreement with strategic partner bp to purchase 10 million liters of SAF in 2022 with an option to purchase up to another 10 million liters in 2023 and 2024 for flights from Heathrow Airport. This represents up to 15 per cent of Qantas’ annual fuel use out of London.

The fuel will be produced with certified bio feedstock from used cooking oil and/or other waste products. This is then blended with normal jet fuel.

The use of SAF is increasing globally – particularly in Europe, the UK and United States – as governments and industry work together to find ways to steadily decarbonize the aviation sector.

Qantas is in discussions about accessing SAF at its other overseas ports, such as Los Angeles, and recently joined other oneworld airlines in signing a memorandum of understanding to use SAF for flights from San Francisco from 2024. These volume agreements are crucial to bringing the cost of SAF down, which can be several times more expensive than traditional jet kerosene.

Qantas Group Chief Sustainability Officer Andrew Parker said sustainable aviation fuel was key to the airline meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050 and its interim target, which will be released in the first half of next year.

“We know that climate change is incredibly important for our customers, employees and investors and it is a major focus for the national carrier as we come out of a difficult couple of years,” Mr Parker said.

“Zero emission technology like electric aircraft or green hydrogen are still a very long way off for aviation, and even further away for long haul flights like London to Australia. SAF and high quality carbon offsetting are therefore critical on the path to net zero.

“Aviation biofuels typically deliver around an 80 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to the jet fuel it is replacing and is the most significant tool airlines have to reduce their impact on the environment

“The technology is already tried and tested and it can be used in the aircraft we have now, which is why government and industry overseas are investing heavily to build their own SAF industries.

“Given the importance of aviation to Australia, and the distances we travel, there’s a huge opportunity to build a local SAF industry here. The Qantas Group would be its biggest customer and we’ve already committed $50 million in seed funding, but it’s going to take a concerted effort from industry and government to make this happen,” added Mr Parker.

Martin Thomsen, SVP Air bp, said “Our aspiration at Air bp is to become a leader in the supply of SAF and we are committed to working with customers to scale up its use. We believe it is one of the key routes to reducing carbon emissions in the aviation industry.

“Selling SAF to Qantas at London Heathrow demonstrates not only the aim of both companies towards decarbonizing aviation but also doing so at one of the most important airports in the world.”

While Qantas and Jetstar have flown several demonstration flights using SAF – including a flight across the Pacific in 2018 powered by biofuel derived from mustard seeds – this is the first time an Australian airline will purchase SAF on an ongoing basis.

Last month, Qantas Frequent Flyer announced a world-first Green membership tier which will rewards members for making sustainable choices at home and when they travel.

QANTAS will convert two of its Airbus A330 passenger aircraft into freighters

QANTAS Airways Airbus A330-203 VH-EBI (msn 898) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 956063.

QANTAS Airways made this announcement:

Qantas will convert two of its Airbus A330 passenger aircraft into freighters to support the significant shift towards consumers shopping online.

One of the converted widebody freighters will be used in Qantas Freight’s international network, while the other will be a new addition to the dedicated fleet that serves Australia Post’s domestic parcel and mail business.

In addition, Qantas Freight will receive its third Airbus A321P2F freighter this week, which will also operate for Australia Post. The narrow body aircraft previously operated passenger services for Jetstar. The freighter will provide additional capacity ahead of what’s expected to be the busiest Christmas period ever for air cargo.

The seat capacity of the two A330s will be replaced by more efficient scheduling on the Qantas passenger network.

Qantas will also take delivery of three new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners during 2022.

The aircraft will be converted by EFW, a joint venture between Airbus and ST Engineering. Conversion work will include removing seats, replacing the existing cabin door with a larger door and the installation of a cargo handling system.

The first A330 aircraft, which will be utilized by Australia Post, will start its conversion in August 2022 and is expected to start operating in mid-2023 with the second to start operating in late 2023.

“The two A321PTF aircraft already in the skies, and the third taking off this month, provide our network with critical additional capacity and flexibility, while also improving the sustainability of our air freight operations, as they can carry twice as many parcels and require less fuel per kilo of mail and parcels uplifted.

Top Copyright photo: QANTAS Airways Airbus A330-203 VH-EBI (msn 898) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 956063.

QANTAS Airways aircraft slide show:

QANTAS Airways aircraft photo gallery:

 

QANTAS launches the Sydney – Delhi route

 

QANTAS Airways made this announcement with the launch of the Sydney – Delhi route today:

The first commercial Qantas flight from Australia to India in almost a decade has taken to the skies today (December 6), marking another milestone in Australia’s reopening to the world.

The flight departed Sydney shortly after 6am and will touch down in Delhi after a 15-hour journey.

The Sydney-Delhi service and the Melbourne-Delhi service, which starts just before Christmas, have been the fastest selling routes on the national carrier’s international network since borders reopened, with most flights in December almost entirely sold out.

Qantas is operating three weekly return flights from Sydney to Delhi, which will increase in January 2022, and four weekly return flights from Melbourne to begin from 22 December 2021.

It’s the first time Qantas has operated a commercial service to India since the end of its Brisbane to Mumbai service in 2012 and the airline’s first regular passenger flight from Australia to Delhi since 1974.

Over the past 12 months, Qantas operated more than 60 repatriation flights on behalf of the Federal Government flights to bring Australians home from India.

All passengers on Qantas international flights are required to be fully vaccinated, unless they are under 12 years old, are 12-17 year olds traveling to Australia with their family or guardian or have an exemption.

Initial international flights are limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and parents in line with Federal Government requirements. Students and a number of other visa holders are expected to be able to re-enter Australia in the coming weeks.

International flights are subject to government and regulatory approval.

 

QANTAS resumes international flights from Melbourne today

QANTAS Airways made this announcement:

Qantas international flights from Melbourne take off again today for the first time in 20 months after the pandemic grounded international travel.

The national carrier will recommence scheduled international flights from Melbourne today with flight QF35 bound for Singapore departing at 11.50am.

Qantas has also announced it will launch a brand-new international route from Melbourne to Delhi from December 22, 2021, connecting Victoria to the Indian capital on a Qantas-operated flight for the first time in the airline’s history.

The new Melbourne-Delhi flight will operate four times a week, year-round. Same day connections will also be available from Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra. Flights from Melbourne to Delhi will initially operate via Adelaide, while flights from Delhi to Melbourne will operate nonstop.

This follows the recent announcement of flights from Sydney to Delhi, which start next month. When this route went on sale, Qantas saw the fastest booking surge for flights leaving Australia since the airline announced its international restart plans in August.

Qantas will also relaunch flights from Melbourne-London on November 27, 2021 and Melbourne-Los Angeles from December 19, 2021.

While the international travel experience will largely be the same as pre-COVID, some things will look and feel a little different, particularly in the short-term.

International flights are subject to Government and Regulatory approval