Tag Archives: QANTAS Airways

QANTAS and Jetstar will bring forward the restart of more international flights to popular destinations from Sydney, will accelerate the return of the A380

QANTAS Airways Airbus A380-842 VH-OQC (msn 022) LAX (Ton Jochems). Image: 955608.

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

  • All Australian-based Qantas and Jetstar employees able to return to work in early December 21
  • Qantas to launch new route from Sydney to Delhi before Christmas*
  • Flights from Sydney to Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Johannesburg, Fiji to resume ahead of schedule
  • Early return of the A380
  • More Points Planes for frequent flyers

Qantas and Jetstar will bring forward the restart of more international flights to popular destinations from Sydney and operate regular flights to Delhi, the first commercial flights for Qantas between Australia and India in almost a decade.

The national carrier will also bring back two of its Airbus A380 aircraft earlier than planned and is in discussions with Boeing about accelerating the delivery of three brand new 787 Dreamliners, which have been in storage for most of the pandemic.

The faster ramp up follows the Federal and New South Wales governments confirming that international borders would reopen from 1 November 2021 and the decision by the NSW Government to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals – which significantly increases travel demand.

These decisions – combined with plans by states and territories to reopen domestic borders – support all Qantas and Jetstar workers based in Australia and New Zealand who are currently stood down to return to work by early December 2021. This includes around 5,000 employees linked to domestic flying and around 6,000 linked to international flying.

Due to extended border closures, many international crew have been stood down since the start of the pandemic. Combined with operational and corporate employees already working, the Group’s 22,000 employees are able to return to work in December, which wasn’t expected to happen until June 2022.

International schedule update

Qantas plans to launch a new route from Sydney to Delhi on 6 December 2021 with three return flights per week with its A330 aircraft, building to daily flights by end of the year. This is subject to discussions with Indian authorities to finalise necessary approvals. The flights would initially operate until at least late March 2022, with a view to continuing if there is sufficient demand. Flights from Sydney to Delhi would operate via Darwin, while flights from Delhi to Sydney would operate nonstop.

The updated international schedule published today also includes:

  • Sydney to Singapore: Qantas flights will resume on 23 November 2021, four weeks earlier than scheduled, operating three days per week with A330 aircraft. Services will ramp up to daily from 18 December 2021. Jetstar will fly from Melbourne and Darwin to Singapore from 16 December 2021.
  • Sydney to Fiji (Nadi): Qantas flights will be brought forward to 7 December 2021 from 19 December 2021. Four return flights a week will be operated by 737 aircraft. Jetstar flights to Fiji will resume on 17 December 2021. Within 48 hours of Fiji announcing its reopening, Jetstar saw a 200 per cent increase in sales versus pre-COVID levels, selling more fares than a typical seven day period.
  • Sydney to Johannesburg: Qantas flights will resume on 5 January 2022, three months earlier than scheduled. Three return flights a week will be operated by 787 aircraft.
  • Sydney to Bangkok: Qantas flights will resume on 14 January 2022, more than two months earlier than scheduled. Five return flights a week will be operated by A330 aircraft.
  • Sydney to Phuket: Jetstar flights will resume on 12 January 2022, more than two months earlier than scheduled. Three return flights a week will be operated by 787 aircraft.

Qantas has also launched additional Points Planes – where every seat in every cabin on a flight is available to book as a reward seat.

Discussions have commenced with the NSW Government about supporting some of Qantas’ international services to Sydney through its recently announced Aviation Attraction Fund. Discussions are also underway with the Indonesian Government about welcoming fully vaccinated Australians back to Bali with reduced or no quarantine requirements, which would mean the resumption of Jetstar and Qantas flights from Sydney to the holiday island months earlier than scheduled.

Today’s announcement is in addition to routes already on sale from Sydney to London and Los Angeles. Bookings on these routes have been extremely strong, with more than 10 additional return services added between Sydney and London due to demand from Australians coming home in time for Christmas.

Qantas frequent flyers have also been booking seats in record numbers, with the largest number of points used on reward seats for a single day in the airline’s history occurring on Tuesday this week, with more than half a billion points redeemed. Frequent flyers can use their points to book one of millions of seats across Qantas, Jetstar and partner airlines as borders open.

Flights to Honolulu, Vancouver, Tokyo and New Zealand are still scheduled to commence from mid-December 2021, with other destinations to restart in the new year.

In line with current Federal Government requirements, these initial flights are limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and parents.

Fleet update

Qantas has further accelerated the return of its fleet of A380 aircraft.

Originally expected to remain in long term storage in the Californian desert until the end of 2023, the Group announced in August that five A380s with upgraded cabins would return from July 2022 to operate Los Angeles and London flights. This is now being brought forward a further three months, with two of the A380s to commence flights to Los Angeles from April 2022. One aircraft could arrive by the end of this year to assist with crew training ahead of its return to service.

A further three A380s will return to service from mid-November 2022 with the remaining five expected to return to service by early 2024.

Qantas is also looking to bring forward delivery of three brand new 787-9 aircraft, currently in storage with Boeing, several months earlier than planned as demand increases.

Jetstar will bring the remaining five of its 11 Boeing 787-8s out of storage in Alice Springs over the coming months.

Domestic update

Qantas and Jetstar are preparing to ramp up capacity between Melbourne and Sydney as quarantine-free travel is set to resume between Australia’s two largest cities. Pre-COVID, Melbourne-Sydney was the second busiest route in the world, with the Group operating up to 58 return services per day, but during the latest lockdowns this got down to as low as one return flight per day for essential travel only.

When the Victorian and NSW borders open, Qantas and Jetstar will operate up to 18 return flights per day, increasing to up to 37 return flights per day by Christmas. Additional capacity will be added on other routes to and from Sydney and Melbourne, as restrictions are lifted by other states and territories.

And from Melbourne:

Qantas will bring forward international flights from Melbourne following the Victorian Government’s decision to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers returning from overseas from November.

The national carrier welcomes the decision by the Victorian Government, which was made possible by the huge number of Victorians who have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated.

The updated international schedule out of Melbourne published today includes:

  • Melbourne to London: Qantas flights will be brought forward to 6 November 2021, six weeks earlier than scheduled, operating two days per week with 787 aircraft and ramping up to daily from 18 December 2021.
  • Melbourne to Singapore: Qantas flights will be brought forward to 22 November 2021, three weeks ahead of scheduled, operating three days per week with A330 aircraft and ramping up to daily from 18 December. Jetstar will also recommence flying four times a week between Melbourne and Singapore using 787 aircraft, a route it hasn’t flown since 2019.

Qantas will offer the first three return services on both routes as Points Planes meaning frequent flyers can access every seat across every cabin as Classic Flight Reward seats. Seats on these flights will also be available as regular flight bookings.

Victorian customers can also now book onward flights to other international destinations including Los Angeles (1 November), Fiji (7 December), Johannesburg (5 January) and Bangkok (14 January) via Sydney.

Flights from Melbourne to Los Angeles will restart from 18 December 2021 with other destinations scheduled to recommence in the new year. Qantas and Jetstar will look at bringing forward additional destinations if possible.   

Initial flights are limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families and parents in line with Federal Government requirements.

Top Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways Airbus A380-842 VH-OQC (msn 022) LAX (Ton Jochems). Image: 955608.

QANTAS Airways aircraft slide show:

QANTAS to fly the Kangaroo Route to London via Darwin, will also return to Los Angeles

QANTAS Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner VH-ZNB (msn 39039) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955448.

QANTAS Airways has confirmed it will operate its flagship direct route from Australia to London via Darwin when international flights resume next month with the reopening of Australia’s border.

The national carrier has reached an agreement with the Northern Territory Government and Darwin Airport to temporarily reroute its flights from Melbourne and Sydney through Darwin.

The Darwin hub arrangement will be in place in time for borders reopening from November 14, 2021 until at least April 2022 when London flights are scheduled to operate via Perth again. While this is a temporary change to the route, QANTAS will watch how it performs and is open-minded about what it could lead to down the track.

The Sydney-Darwin-London route will begin on November 14 while the Melbourne-Darwin-London route is currently scheduled to begin on December 18, 2021 but could start earlier depending on discussions with the Victorian Government on shorter quarantine arrangements for returning travelers.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the new route via Darwin will be made possible due to the support from the Northern Territory Government who have been instrumental in helping QANTAS facilitate the new route in a post COVID-19 operating environment.

The passenger transit arrangements will be split into two stages to reflect COVID-safe arrangements in the Territory itself. In stage one, transiting passengers from all Australian states, or returning from London, will be able to visit the international lounge and shops at Darwin Airport.

Passengers traveling from London to Sydney and Melbourne via Darwin and wanting to travel onwards to other Australian cities may also be subject to state and territory quarantine requirements.

In stage two, transiting passengers will have the option to leave the terminal and visit Darwin, providing a tangible tourism boost for the city.

Darwin based customers will also be able to book the direct flight meaning a convenient non-stop connection to London.

QANTAS has a long and proud history in Darwin. The city was the jump off point from Australia for the launch of the national carrier’s first international flight in 1935 from Brisbane to Singapore via Darwin.

Darwin was also part of the original 1947 Kangaroo Route between London and Sydney which took four days and flew from Sydney to Darwin and then onwards to Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi, Bahrain, Cairo and Castel Benito before landing in London.

As a result of repatriation flights, this year marks the first time QANTAS has operated flights into Darwin Airport from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America, making it the first airport in Australia to have received nonstop flights from all inhabited continents of the world.

QF1 will take off from November 14, 2021, departing Sydney five times a week at 6.30 pm, land in Darwin at 9.25 pm for a brief refueling stop ahead of the 13,800 km, 17-hour, 20 minute direct journey to London’s Heathrow Airport.

All passengers on QANTAS’ international flights will be required to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved or recognized vaccine (some exemptions for medical reasons and children). They will also be required to return a negative PCR COVID test at least 48 hours prior to departure and home quarantine for seven days on arrival into New South Wales.

Along with the Sydney to London via Darwin service, QANTAS will restart its flights from Sydney to Los Angeles in November.

 

All other international routes that were scheduled to resume from December 18, 2021 will continue as planned, although the Group has the flexibility to add additional routes if other states and territories decide to open their borders earlier and reduce quarantine requirements to seven days at home, or less.

Top Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner VH-ZNB (msn 39039) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955448.

QANTAS aircraft slide show:

QANTAS operates a 18-hour repatriation flight from Buenos Aires to Darwin

QANTAS Airways operated a special charter flight (QF14) from Brisbane to Buenos Aires and then to Darwin to repatriate Australia citizens from South America.

The flight operated via Antartica.

QANTAS to replace its Boeing 717s and Boeing 737-800s

QANTAS Airways, according to Reuters, is likely to issue a tender off to replace its Boeing 717s and Boeing 737-800s.

The airline was planning on an order in 2019 but COVID-19 pandemic delayed the decision.

QANTAS issued this statement:

Qantas has entered the final stages of a formal tender process with aircraft and engine manufacturers for the long-term renewal of its domestic narrow-body fleet.

The program, which has been flagged previously, will see more than 100 new aircraft enter the national carrier’s domestic fleet by 2034, renewing the Boeing 737-800s and Boeing 717s that currently form the backbone of its domestic jet operations.

Deliveries would start from the end of 2023 but the Group would retain significant flexibility to make adjustments depending on market conditions.

The aircraft being considered are the Boeing 737 MAX family and Airbus A320neo family, as well as the smaller Embraer E-Jet E2 family and the Airbus A220.

The tender process includes detailed evaluation of the aircraft against four key criteria: safety, reliability and performance, sustainability and emissions reduction, and commercial terms.

Final decisions on preferred suppliers of aircraft and engines are expected to be made by the end of 2021 followed by firm orders by mid-2022.

CEO COMMENTS

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who is meeting Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and engine manufacturers at the International Air Transport Association AGM in Boston this week, said determining the jets that would serve Qantas Domestic for the next two decades was a key milestone for the Group.

“We’re calling this Project Winton, after the birthplace of Qantas in outback Queensland, because this is a foundational decision for the future of our domestic operations,” Mr Joyce said.

“All of the next-generation aircraft we’re considering have the potential to drive big improvements in trip cost and overall efficiency, and they’re great platforms for delivering a better premium service to our customers.

“Not only will these aircraft deliver a step change in reducing fuel burn and carbon emissions by up to around 15 per cent, we’re talking to each of the manufacturers about how we can accelerate the development and use of sustainable aviation fuels for our domestic flying.

“This is a long-term renewal plan with deliveries and payments spread over 10 years, starting in FY23, but the equally long lead time means we need to make these decisions soon.

“COVID has had a devastating impact on the aviation industry and there aren’t many airlines around the world in a position to place orders for new aircraft. We still have our own repair work to do, but we know travel demand will rebound quickly and right now we’re in a strong position to secure the best possible deal at very good prices.

“The aircraft we’re considering have been in service for several years, which gives us the confidence that they’ve gone through rigorous troubleshooting by the time they enter our fleet. They’re new, but they are known quantities.”

Mr Joyce said as the airline’s network consists of flying between large capital cities as well to smaller cities and regional centres it’s likely a combination of larger and smaller aircraft types would be ordered.

“Our approach is always to have the right aircraft on the right route, which really means balancing the size of the aircraft with the demand in each market. The mix of aircraft we’re considering means we’ll have more operational flexibility, which for customers translates into more direct routes to smaller regional centres and more choice of flights throughout the day.

“At the other end of the spectrum, we’ll be picking up where we left off with our direct flights to London and New York as part of Project Sunrise, which we hope will start operating in 2024/25.”

OTHER FLEET

The Qantas Group has an existing order for 109 Airbus A320/A321 aircraft, which will predominantly be used to renew Jetstar’s exiting fleet of A320 aircraft. The first neo is due to be delivered in the second half of calendar year 2022 with deliveries through to end of the decade.

Three additional 787-9 Dreamliners for Qantas International will be delivered from FY23 onwards.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Current fleet

Boeing 737-800

  • 75 aircraft in the fleet
  • 174 seats – 12 Business, 162 Economy
  • Current fleet age is between 7 to 19 years old
  • 4,800km range
  • Operated on routes ranging from Melbourne-Sydney to Brisbane-Perth
  • CFM engines

The B737-800s have been the workhorse of Qantas’ domestic operation for the past 20 years, with fantastic reliability and a product that customers love. The most recent aircraft arrived in 2014 so the 737-800 will continue to fly for Qantas well into the next decade.

Boeing 717

  • 20 aircraft in the fleet (mix of two and single class)
  • Two configurations:
    • Dual class with 110 seats – 12 Business, 98 Economy
    • Single class with 125 Economy seats
  • Current fleet age is from 15 to 22 years old
  • 2,408km range
  • Operated on routes such as Brisbane-Canberra and Hobart-Melbourne
  • Rolls Royce Deutschland BR-715 engines

The B717s have provided Qantas with the flexibility to service many segments of the domestic market, including regional routes, fly in fly out operations or more frequencies to capital cities.

AIRCRAFT BEING EVALUATED

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.

Boeing 737 MAX family

  • Consists of the MAX 7, MAX 8, MAX 9 and MAX 10
  • Seats range from 138 to 204 seats for two-class configurations
  • 6,100km to 7,130km range
  • Reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by 14 per cent compared to the 737-800NG
  • 40 per cent quieter than the 737-800NG
  • CFM International LEAP-1B engines

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
  • The A320neo family offers fuel improvements of 14 per cent from A320ceos
  • 50 per cent quieter than the A320ceos
  • Two engine options-Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1100G and CFM International LEAP-1A

Airbus A220

  • Specifically designed for the 100-150 seat market
  • 25 per cent lower fuel burn per seat than previous generation aircraft, half the noise footprint, and decreased emissions
  • Up to 6,390km range
  • Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1500G engines

Embraer E-Jet E2 family

  • E190-E2 seats up to 114 for a single-class configuration. Range is 5,278km
  • E195-E2 seats up to 146 for a single-class configuration. Range is 4,815km
  • Achieves double digit lower fuel consumption compared to current-generation Embraer jets
  • Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1700G engines

QANTAS and Emirates extend their partnership

QANTAS Airways and Emirates Airline have announced they will extend their cornerstone partnership for another five years, meaning customers and frequent flyers of both airlines will have access to an expansive joint network, and millions of reward seats to travel across Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UK.

The agreement was signed by Emirates President Tim Clark and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce at the International Air Transport Association Annual General Meeting in Boston.

The airlines have existing approvals from regulators to operate a joint business until March 2023. Qantas and Emirates will seek re-authorization from relevant regulators, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, to continue the core elements of the partnership including coordination of pricing, schedules, sales and tourism marketing on approved routes until 2028. The deal includes an option to renew for another five years beyond that.

Together, both airlines are making millions of reward seats available for frequent flyers to access more than 100 destinations to using their Qantas Points or Skywards Miles, which many have been stockpiling throughout the pandemic.

For Emirates customers, the deal provides access to over 55 Australian destinations that Emirates does not fly to, and Qantas customers are able to fly on Emirates to Dubai and access over 50 cities in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, that Qantas does not fly to.

As Qantas and Emirates recover from the impact that COVID-19 has had on their respective businesses, the partnership will continue to deliver financial upside for both airlines.

This year, Emirates is celebrating 25 years of flying to Australia, transporting more than 39 million passengers between Australian cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and other destinations via its Dubai hub since 1996. Emirates has continued to display its strong commitment to the Australian market increasing the size of its operations from three flights a week when it initially launched in 1996 in Melbourne, peaking to over 100 flights per week prior to the pandemic.

Benefits of Qantas and Emirates partnership

Since 2013, more than 13 million passengers have travelled on the joint network, traveling more than 87 billon kilometers.

On average more than 13,000 Emirates passengers have travelled on Qantas’ domestic and regional services within Australia each month.

Together, Qantas and Emirates provide customers with more than 100 codeshare destinations including:

  • 38 codeshare destinations in the UK and Europe, including Rome, Zurich and Barcelona
  • 55 codeshare destinations in Australia and New Zealand
  • 13 codeshare destinations in Africa and the Middle East
  • 2 codeshare destinations in Asia

 

QANTAS and Jetstar update their flight schedules, Perth-London route rerouted

The Qantas Group has updated its flying schedule in response to the reopening plans and latest border assumptions in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.

The key domestic changes are:

  • Bringing forward the reopening date for travel between Victoria and New South Wales from 1 December to 5 November 2021, based on Victoria’s reopening plan.
  • Significantly increasing regional flying within New South Wales from 25 October 2021, in line with the State Government’s roadmap, to around 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
  • Delaying the restart of domestic flying between Western Australia and Victoria / New South Wales by two months to 1 February 2022, based on border assumptions.

Qantas will continue to operate five return flights a week between Perth and both Sydney and Melbourne to maintain minimum connections for those with permits to travel.

There is no change to Qantas or Jetstar flights between WA, Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia. Flights between WA and Queensland will increase once border restrictions are removed, hopefully in coming weeks. The Group is ready to adjust its schedules in response to changes by states as various restrictions ease in the weeks ahead.

Internationally, flights are still on track to gradually restart from 18 December 2021 onwards when Australia is expected to have reached National Cabinet’s ‘Phase C’ vaccination threshold of 80 per cent. However, as previously flagged, Qantas will temporarily reroute its flagship Perth-London service until at least April 2022 due to the latest WA border settings and assumptions.

Qantas is in detailed discussions with the NT Government and Darwin Airport to assess operating the direct London flight from Darwin during this time. The national carrier has successfully used Darwin as a hub for its repatriation flights to various destinations across Europe, Asia and the Middle East over the past 12 months.

The discussions for what would be a daily Melbourne-Darwin-London service focus on the logistics of domestic and international transit under the current NT Government Plan for COVID-Management at Stage 3 of the National Plan. If this service can’t operate through Darwin, it will instead fly Melbourne-Singapore-London until at least April 2022. A decision on the exact routing is likely to be made within the next two weeks.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said: “It’s great to see plans firming up for some domestic borders opening given the success of the national vaccine rollout.

“We’re now planning to ramp up flying between Melbourne and Sydney, which is usually the second busiest air route in the world, almost a month earlier than expected.  There are also a lot of regional destinations that will open up for the first time since June, which is great news for tourism as well as family and friends who can’t wait to see each other again.

“Get ready to see some emotional reunions at airports from late-October onwards.

“Based on our discussions with Western Australia we know their borders won’t be open to New South Wales and Victoria until early next year, so we’ve sadly had to cancel the flying we had planned on those routes in the lead-up to Christmas. We will maintain a minimum service for people with permits to travel, though, as we have throughout the pandemic.

“At this stage, WA doesn’t intend to open to international travel until sometime next year, so we’ll unfortunately have to temporarily move our Perth-London service until at least April 2022. Instead of operating from Melbourne to Perth and then on to London as it usually does, this flight will operate from Melbourne to London via either Darwin or Singapore, depending on conversations we’re having with the NT in the coming weeks. We look forward to operating this flight via Perth again when circumstances allow.

“We’re in regular discussions with all the states and territories, and will continue to make adjustments, including increasing flying as soon as border settings allow.

“The pace of the vaccine rollout means we’re still on track for international flying to restart from 18 December onwards. People are clearly keen to travel. We saw a 175 per cent spike in web searches in the week after we announced our plans and we’ve seen strong bookings for December and January for our flights to London, Los Angeles and Singapore in particular.

“The key factor in determining the ongoing demand level for international flying will be what the quarantine arrangements are for Australians when they return. The seven day home quarantine trial in New South Wales is a great step forward and we’re hoping the system evolves quickly for vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries to not have to quarantine on arrival, particularly given Australia itself is on track to have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. That’s fast becoming the standard between many countries overseas.

“The reason we’re putting a lot of sale fares in the market as more domestic destinations open up is to help fast track the recovery by stimulating demand and getting our people back to work sooner. Jetstar sold thousands of $20 fares from Melbourne to Sydney, Byron Bay and Newcastle within hours of going on sale this week.  This is good news for the tourism industry, which has taken such a huge hit throughout the crisis.”

Should State or Federal roadmaps change, and flights are cancelled, customers may be eligible for a refund, credit voucher or to change the date of their travel.  Further details are available on Qantas and Jetstar’s websites.

More than 400,000 fully vaccinated Australians have so far claimed their vaccination reward and gone into the draw for eight prizes of a year’s worth of flights, accommodation and fuel. Almost three quarters have chosen 1000 Qantas Points as their reward, adding almost 300 million points to frequent flyers’ accounts. The rewards are open to Australians who are fully vaccinated by the end of the year.

International flights remain subject to Government and Regulatory approval.

QANTAS Group outlines its strategy for restarting international flights, will return some A380s

QANTAS Airways Airbus A380-842 VH-OQE (msn 027) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 954807.

QANTAS Group has issued this report:

  • Gradual restart planned around National Cabinet’s phased reopening of international borders.
  • Current date of December 2021 remains in reach, based on pace of vaccine rollout.
  • Plans remain dependent on Government decisions in coming months, including future quarantine requirements.
  • Destinations with high vaccination rates are initial focus, including North America, UK, Singapore, Japan.
  • Early return of five A380s to meet high demand to Los Angeles and London from mid-2022.
  • Total of 10 A380s with upgraded cabins to return to service; two to be retired.

The Qantas Group has provided more detail on preparations for restarting its international flights, with plans linked to the vaccine rollout in Australia and key overseas markets.

On current projections Australia is expected to reach National Cabinet’s ‘Phase C’ vaccination threshold of 80 per cent in December 2021, which would trigger the gradual reopening of international borders.

Similarly, key markets like the UK, North America and parts of Asia have high and increasing levels of vaccination. This makes them highly likely to be classed as low risk countries for vaccinated travelers to visit and return from under reduced quarantine requirements, pending decisions by the Australian Government and entry policies of other countries.

This creates a range of potential travel options that Qantas and Jetstar are now preparing for. While COVID has shown that circumstances can change unexpectedly, the long lead times for international readiness means the Group needs to make some reasonable assumptions based on the latest data to make sure it can offer flights to customers as soon as they become feasible.

Flights to destinations that still have low vaccine rates and high levels of COVID infection will now be pushed out from December 2021 until April 2022 – including Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg. Levels of travel demand – and therefore, capacity levels – will hinge largely on government decisions on alternative requirements to mandatory hotel isolation for fully vaccinated travelers.

Assuming current projections hold and the 80 per cent vaccine threshold is met in December, Qantas and Jetstar plan to trigger a gradual restart as outlined below. If those assumptions change or dates move, the restart plans will adjust accordingly.

SUMMARY OF INTERNATIONAL RESTART PLANS

  • From mid-December 2021, flights would start from Australia to COVID-safe destinations, which are likely to include Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada using Boeing 787s, Airbus A330s, and 737s and A320s for services to Fiji.
  • Flights between Australia and New Zealand will be on sale for travel from mid-December 2021 on the assumption some or all parts of the two-way bubble will restart.
  • Qantas’ ability to fly non-stop between Australia and London is expected to be in even higher demand post-COVID. The airline is investigating using Darwin as a transit point, which has been Qantas’ main entry for repatriation flights, as an alternative (or in addition) to its existing Perth hub given conservative border policies in Western Australia. Discussions on this option are continuing.
  • Five A380s will return to service ahead of schedule. These would fly between Sydney and LA from July 2022, and between Sydney and London (via Singapore) from November 2022. The A380s work well
    on these long-haul routes when there’s sufficient demand, and the high vaccination rates in both markets would underpin this.
  • Qantas will extend the range of its A330-200 aircraft to operate some trans-Pacific routes such as Brisbane-Los Angeles and Brisbane-San Francisco. This involves some technical changes that are now being finalised with Airbus.
  • Flights to Hong Kong will restart in February and the rest of the Qantas and Jetstar international network is planned to open up from April 2022, with capacity increasing gradually.
  • Qantas to take delivery of three 787-9s (new aircraft that have been in storage with Boeing) during FY23 to operate additional flights to key markets as demand increases.
  • Jetstar to take delivery of its first three Airbus A321neo LR aircraft from early FY23, the extended range of which will free up some of its 787s to be redeployed on other markets.

In total, 10 of Qantas’ A380s with upgraded interiors are expected to return to service by early 2024, with timing dependent on how quickly the market recovers. Two A380s will be retired.

Readiness for international travel to restart is supported by ongoing repatriation and charter flights using A330s and 787s, as well as specific funding from the Australian Government for crew training and engineering work to return idle aircraft to service.

Outlining the restart assumptions as part of the national carrier’s full year results, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “The prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off, especially with New South Wales and Victoria in lockdown, but the current pace of the vaccine rollout means we should have a lot more freedom in a few months’ time.

“It’s obviously up to government exactly how and when our international borders re-open, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 per cent trigger agreed by National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen, including training for our people and carefully bringing aircraft back into service. We’re also working to integrate the IATA travel pass into our systems to help our customers prove their vaccine status and cross borders.

“We can adjust our plans if the circumstances change, which we’ve already had to do several times during this pandemic. Some people might say we’re being too optimistic, but based on the pace of the vaccine rollout, this is within reach and we want to make sure we’re ready,” added Mr Joyce.

Qantas has recently extended its Fly Flexible policy, offering customers who book international flights before 28 February 2022 with unlimited ‘fee free’ date changes when travelling before 31 December 2022. (A fare difference may apply).

Qantas has also extended credit vouchers for bookings made on or before 30 September 2021 to enable travel until 31 December 2023. Jetstar customers issued with a voucher due to COVID-19 disruptions are able to use their voucher to book flights until at least 31 December 2022, for flights up to the end of 2023.

International flights remain subject to Government and Regulatory approval.

NATIONAL CABINET ‘PHASE C’ REOPENING PLAN

  • Triggered when vaccine rate among eligible Australians reaches 80 per cent
  • Highly targeted lockdowns only
  • No caps on returning vaccinated Australians
  • Lift all restrictions on outbound travel for vaccinated Australians
  • Extend travel bubble for unrestricted travel to new candidate countries
  • Gradual reopening of inward and outward international travel with safe countries and proportionate quarantine and reduced requirements for fully vaccinated inbound travelers

Top Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways Airbus A380-842 VH-OQE (msn 027) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 954807.

QANTAS Airways aircraft slide show:

QANTAS Group posts significant loss from full year of COVID

QANTAS Group has issued this financial report:

  • Underlying Loss Before Tax: $1.83 billion
  • Statutory Loss Before Tax: $2.35 billion
  • $12 billion revenue impact from COVID-19 crisis in FY21
  • Net debt reduced in 2H21 to $5.9 billion
  • Statutory Net Free Cash flow of $267 million in 2H21
  • Restructuring program ahead of target, delivering $650 million in year one
  • Total liquidity of $3.8 billion, providing buffer against uncertainty
  • 95 per cent of domestic flying cash positive
  • Record performance by Qantas Freight mostly offsetting cost of idling international operations
  • Continued strong cash generation, growth in members at Qantas Loyalty
  • Updated plan for restart of international services from end-2021
  • Ongoing flexibility for customers in response to booking uncertainty

The Qantas Group has posted a substantial full year loss as a result of the COVID crisis – but has started FY22 in a fundamentally better position to deal with uncertainty and manage its recovery compared with 12 months ago.

Total revenue loss from COVID reached $16 billion as the full year impact of minimal international travel and multiple waves of domestic border restrictions continued to hit travel demand.

The Group’s Underlying PBT loss was $1.83 billion. The statutory loss before tax – which includes one-off costs such as redundancies and aircraft write downs – was $2.35 billion. Underlying EBITDA was $410 million, in line with guidance provided in May.

Periods of open domestic borders in the second half saw significant cash generation by Qantas and Jetstar, which helped the Group to reduce net debt from $6.4 billion in February 2021 down to $5.9 billion by the end of June. Throughout the year, cash flow was underpinned by continued strong performance by Qantas Loyalty and significantly higher international yields for Qantas Freight.

As well as delivering an essential service under very challenging circumstances, the Group made significant progress towards its recovery program. Planned rightsizing is largely complete and much restructuring has been implemented. Central to these changes has been the ability to better manage costs in the face of sudden border closures. Cost benefits from the recovery program were ahead of expectations for FY21 at $650 million.

GROUP DOMESTIC

Qantas and Jetstar’s combined Underlying EBITDA from domestic flying was $304 million, falling to an Underlying EBIT loss of $669 million after non-cash depreciation and amortization.

The Group’s domestic capacity fell as low as 19 per cent in July 2020 before steadily recovering and then peaking at 92 per cent in May 2021, until outbreaks of the Delta variant triggered a series of lockdowns.

Demand proved resilient throughout the year, with quick uptake in bookings when domestic borders re-opened. The Group has announced 46 new domestic routes since the start of the pandemic, many to regional destinations, in response to a boom in leisure travel driven largely by the closure of international borders. Corporate travel demand had recovered to around 75 per cent of pre-COVID levels in May[1] and Qantas won an additional 34 major accounts across the year. Demand from business, along with leisure travel, is expected to bounce back strongly once lockdowns end.

To better meet this demand, Jetstar is bringing in idle Airbus A320 aircraft from Asia and QantasLink accessed capacity via Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. Going forward, this will help the Group exceed its pre-COVID capacity and market share as restrictions are removed.

GROUP INTERNATIONAL AND FREIGHT

Group International (including Freight) posted an Underlying EBITDA loss of $157 million, increasing to an Underlying EBIT loss of $1.0 billion after depreciation and amortization.

Qantas and Jetstar’s international flying remained largely grounded for most of FY21 due to the continued closure of Australia’s borders. A travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand saw some flying return but ongoing outbreaks meant this corridor was heavily restricted at various stages; Qantas’ capacity reached an average of 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels during quarter four.

Since the start of the pandemic the Group has operated almost 400 flights repatriating Australians and maintaining critical links to the Pacific and Timor-Leste on behalf of the Australian Government, as well as freight missions to key export markets, with its Airbus A330 and Boeing 787 aircraft. These flights are continuing into FY22 and, together with specific government funding for crew training and engineering support, assist with readiness for regular international travel.

Jetstar airlines in Asia, which are based in Singapore and Japan, continued to suffer from minimal travel demand and incurred losses.

Demand for air cargo capacity remained extremely strong through FY21 due to a surge in online shopping in the Australian market and the belly space lost due to the cancellation of most international passenger flights. Qantas Freight was able to capitalize on this demand, delivering a record profit that significantly offset the costs of the Group’s grounded international operations.

QANTAS LOYALTY

Qantas Loyalty continued to perform well, generating over $1 billion in gross cash and achieving record member satisfaction.

Underlying EBIT was $272 million despite a full year of COVID-related travel restrictions. Earnings in the second half were higher than the first half of FY21 and higher than the second half of FY20.

While opportunities to redeem Qantas Points in the air were limited, there was extremely strong demand when borders did open. Between January and lockdowns in June, redemption levels on domestic flights were 30 per cent above pre-COVID levels.

Members remained highly engaged, earning and redeeming large volumes of points on the ground. Spending on credit cards linked to Qantas Points returned to pre-COVID levels in the fourth quarter and over 500,000 members have now earned points through the partnership with bp Australia. There were record levels of points redeemed via Qantas Wine and the Qantas Store, in line with broader consumer trends.

In a year with minimal air travel, the total number of Frequent Flyer members grew by almost 200,000 to reach 13.6 million. The Qantas Insurance portfolio also continued to grow.

SUPPORTING OUR CUSTOMERS

A number of initiatives have been introduced to make travel easier and safer for customers in the midst of the COVID crisis, including:

  • Extending Frequent Flyers status and offering status match to high-tier members of other airline programs.
  • Offering unlimited date changes on all Qantas domestic and international fares through to at least February 2022.
  • Increasing the number of reward seats available on domestic, Trans-Tasman and international flights by up to 50 per cent, providing members with more opportunities to use their points to travel when borders are open.
  • Practical support of the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout to help create a safer travel experience, including plans to make vaccination a requirement for all Qantas Group employees and offering rewards to Frequent Flyers who are fully vaccinated. The COVID-safe Fly Well and Work Well programs remain in place.

FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK

The Qantas Group remains one of only seven airlines in the world to retain an investment grade credit rating[2] throughout the pandemic. Its focus remains on cost control and cash generation to enable continued debt reduction back to its target range.

As at 30 June 2021, the Group had total liquidity of $3.8 billion – made up of $2.2 billion in cash plus committed undrawn facilities of $1.6 billion. Major cash outflows associated with redundancies, refunds and delayed supplier payments are largely complete. The Group has more than $2.5 billion in unencumbered assets.

Net capital expenditure was $693 million, mostly for maintenance on the Group’s fleet.

An Expression of Interest process was launched in July 2021 to sell up to 14 hectares of under-developed industrial land in Mascot, which, if sold, could unlock several hundred million dollars to further assist with
debt reduction.

RECOVERY PROGRAM

The Group’s COVID recovery plan targets at least $1 billion in permanent annual savings from FY23 onwards.Progress is ahead of schedule, with $650 million in benefits delivered in FY21; this is targeted to increase to $850 million by the end of FY22.

A total of 9,400 people have now left the Qantas Group – an increase on the prior estimate of 8,500 largely due to offshore job losses at airports and sales offices, some automation and an increase in voluntary redundancies.

Approximately 6,000 employees associated with international flying remain stood down due to the closure of Australia’s external border, while an additional 2,500 employees are stood down as a result of domestic restrictions. Federal Government income support is available to Australian-based employees during this acutely challenging time.

CEO COMMENTS

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “This loss shows the impact that a full year of closed international borders and more than 330 days of domestic travel restrictions had on the national carrier. The trading conditions have frankly been diabolical.

“It comes on top of the significant loss we reported last year and the travel restrictions we’ve seen in the past few months. By the end of this calendar year, it’s likely COVID will cost us more than $20 billion in revenue.

“We’ve had to make a lot of big and difficult structural changes to deal with this crisis, and that phase is mostly behind us. As a result we’re geared to recover quickly, in-line with a national vaccine rollout that is speeding up.

“Things remain tough, especially for thousands of our people waiting to return to their jobs when borders open and hopefully stay open. Our focus is getting them back to work as soon as possible, which is why we were ramping up our flying and adding new destinations before the most recent lockdowns.

“Despite the uncertainty that’s still in front of us, we’re in a far better position to manage it than this time last year. We’re able to move quickly when borders open and close. We’re a leaner and more efficient organisation. And our requirement for all employees to be vaccinated will create a safer environment for our people and customers.

“When Australia reaches those critical vaccination targets later this year and the likelihood of future lockdowns and border closures reduces, we expect to see a surge in domestic travel demand and a gradual return of international travel.

“I’d like to specifically recognise everyone across this company, for dealing with a huge amount of upheaval due to this crisis and showing enormous commitment and professionalism in the process. Our people maintained an absolute focus on safety and on serving our customers, who have likewise been extremely understanding as we’ve all gone through this difficult period.”

FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY

The Qantas Group has previously announced clear and substantial sustainability goals, including capping its total emissions at 2019 levels, investing in a local Sustainable Aviation Fuel industry and reaching zero net emissions by 2050. The pandemic has slowed progress but the Group remains committed to reaching these targets, and has today announced a new Group Management Committee (GMC) position to drive this.

Current Group Executive, Andrew Parker, will become the Chief Sustainability Officer for the Qantas Group, having led these efforts since 2017 through his existing portfolio of Government, Industry, International and Sustainability.

As part of this change, the Group’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Andrew McGinnes, will take on responsibility for Government Relations in addition to his existing responsibilities and become a permanent member of GMC as Group Executive, Corporate Affairs.

OUTLOOK

Recent outbreaks and associated domestic and trans-Tasman border closures are expected to have an impact in the order of $1.4 billion on the Group’s Underlying EBITDA in the first half of FY22. This estimate assumes borders in Victoria and New South Wales re-open in early December 2021. If borders open earlier and flying returns more quickly, capacity can be adjusted accordingly.

Unfortunately, the extended border closures will also extend the stand downs of domestic crew and airport staff beyond the eight weeks previously announced – however, no job losses are expected.

Vaccination rates are expected to reach 70 per cent of the eligible population during November, enabling domestic lockdowns and border restrictions to be steadily eased.

The Group’s liquidity, strong position in the domestic market and progress on restructuring gives confidence that the overall recovery plan remains on track despite these significant setbacks.

Key assumptions for FY22 are[3]:

  • Net debt expected to be in target range by end of FY22.
  • Group Domestic capacity expected to increase from 38 per cent in Q1 to 53 per cent of pre-COVID capacity in Q2 and rise to ~110 per cent in 2H22.
  • International border closures and quarantine restrictions expected to ease once 80 per cent of eligible Australians are vaccinated from December 2021.
  • Qantas International flying in 1H22 expected to be at approximately 15 per cent of pre-COVID levels (through government-sponsored freight services and repatriation flights) on a block hour basis.
  • Once Australia’s borders start to reopen, Group International capacity is expected be 30 to 40 per cent in Q3 and 50 to 70 per cent in Q4 compared with pre-COVID levels on an ASK basis.
  • Recovery plan expected to deliver additional $200 million of cost benefits in FY22.
  • Continued strong cash contribution from Qantas Loyalty, with plans to offer more ways to earn points and status credits on the ground.
  • Domestic freight demand expected to remain strong; international freight belly space expected to be constrained until international capacity stabilises.

[1] Based on May weekly intakes.

[2] Investment grade credit rating issued by either Moody’s or S&P.

[3] Please see Investor Presentation for more detail on assumptions.

QANTAS’ new “Fly Away” TV advertisement encouraging vaccinations

QANTAS is asking everyone to get vaccinated:

We’re all dreaming about the day we can fly away to see family, friends or enjoy a long-overdue holiday. Getting vaccinated is an important step that every Australian can take to bring us that little bit closer to life as we knew it*.

If you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer who has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, we want to say thank you for protecting yourself and the community with your choice of reward, and the chance to win a fantastic major prize. Visit qantas.com/berewarded for more information. Conditions apply.

* Vaccinations must only be taken on the advice of a medical practitioner. International travel is subject to Australian government travel restrictions.