View Full Version : Qantas boosts domestic capacity

9th Jan 2004, 06:51
Fri "The Australian"

Qantas boosts domestic capacity
By Steve Creedy
January 09, 2004

Optimism that business customers are returning amid rising demand has prompted Qantas to boost domestic capacity, increasing some routes by up to 130 per cent.

Qantas Airlines executive general manager John Borghetti said yesterday an increase in corporate travel was among the positive signs as the airline heads into the New Year.

Response to a domestic sale over Christmas had also far exceeded expectations.

"We are seeing the corporate market in Australia improve," Mr Borghetti said. "The corporate market from America and other parts of the world has also improved.

"So there are some positive signs here. It's still very tough and very fragile, but generally it's showing good signs."

Similar indications of a business travel upturn from British Airways this week saw the London-based carrier's shares post the biggest increase since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

BA passenger traffic rose 4.8 per cent in December - the eighth consecutive monthly gain - and described its revenue outlook as "more positive" as premium travellers resumed flying between the UK and North America and Asia.

Qantas is adding two new routes in April: a weekly Sydney-Broome service and a twice-weekly service between Perth and Cairns.

Mr Borghetti said the airline had made the decision to add the Sydney-Broome service after the success of its Melbourne-Broome flight, started last March.

He said the two-class 737-800 services would add more than 330 seats a week to the airline's already significant Cairns services. Expansion of the airline's A330 fleet will allow it to introduce the widebody aircraft on its non-stop Melbourne-Cairns service in April, boosting seats by about 2600 a week.

A330s will operate one of two return Brisbane-Perth services, adding 1740 economy and 360 business seats a week.

Other increases will see the airline add eight Boeing 737 services a week between Brisbane and Darwin and double its non-stop Boeing 737 services on the Darwin-Melbourne route to 12.

Mr Borghetti said he had no doubt that lower prices were stimulating demand.

"No matter which way you look at it, domestic travel in Australia is still the best value for money out of anywhere in the world," he said. "Where else do you pay $69 to fly an hour and half and get given a newspaper and a meal and free drink?"

He said the expansion showed those predicting Qantas mainline would be cannibalised by new low-cost offshoot Jetstar were wrong.


9th Jan 2004, 12:33
How long before we hear the familiar whinging from Brett Godfrey?