LONDON – As Australian Coronavirus travel restrictions start to ease, Qantas (QF) and JetStar (JQ) announced that they will start to increase their number of domestic and regional flights for June and July.
These additional services will see capacity increase from five percent of pre-Coronavirus levels to 15% by the end of June. This is equivalent to more than 300 more return flights per week.
It is expected that additional flights will likely operate during July. However, this depends on travel demand and the further relaxation of state border lockdowns. It is estimated that the group has the ability to increase up to 40% of their pre-crisis domestic capacity by the end of July.
Additional Flight Details
The addition of these new flights will lead to more services on capital city routes, increased intra-state flights, the reintroduction of eight routes and the launch of QF’s new route from Sydney (SYD) to Byron Bay (QYN), which was postponed due to Coronavirus.
The complete increased domestic network can be found in the table below.
As part of Qantas and Jetstar’s Fly Well program, both airlines will have a range of measures in place from June 12. These measures are designed to ensure a safe environment and to give customers extra peace of mind. The measures include contactless check-in, enhanced cleaning, and masks and sanitising wipes provided to all customers.
Additionally. due to the increase in flights, both airlines will be standing up an increased number of employees to be able to operate the new network. However, given the improvement, the group’s network is still significantly smaller than pre-Coronavirus levels and therefore the majority of employees will remain stood down.
Comments from the Group Chief Executive Officer
Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, acknowledged the increase in both demand and bookings seen by the group.
Mr Joyce said that the group is gradually adding flights in June as the demand increased. The CEO also stated that the group could “ramp up flying in time for the July school holidays” provided that restrictions had been eased more.
According to Mr Joyce, the additional flights introduced by the group “are an important first step to help get more people out into communities that rely on tourism and bring a much-needed boost to local businesses.”
It was also added that customer will notice some differences when they fly such as the introduction of masks and sanitising wipes and that information will be sent out before flights so customers know what to expect and for “some extra peace of mind.”
Reassuringly, Mr Joyce added that “the Australian Government’s medical experts have said the risk of contracting Coronavirus on an aircraft is low.”
Advice for Customers
To give passengers some added flexibility and confidence, Qantas Group has announced the following measures about booking a flight.
All domestic passengers can change the date of their flight once without having to pay a fee. Customers will, however, have to cover any fare increase (if relevant) for the new flight.
If the airline cancels the flight, passengers will be rebooked on the next available flight at no additional cost. Alternatively, passengers can choose a flight credit or a refund.
|Airline||Route||Current weekly return flights||Weekly return flights by end of June|
|QF||Sydney-Ballina Byron Bay||0||4|
|JQ||Sydney-Ballina Byron Bay||2||4|
|JQ||Melbourne-Ballina Byron Bay||0||3|
|QF||Coffs Harbour-Sydney||2 (via Port Macquarie)||6 (direct)|
|QF||Lord Howe Island-Sydney||1||1|
|QF||Port Macquarie-Sydney||2 (via Coffs Harbour)||6 (direct)|
|QF||Perth-Port Hedland||2 (via Paraburdoo)||9 (direct)|
|QF||Paraburdoo-Perth||2 (via Port Hedland)||2 (direct)|
|JQ||Brisbane-Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine)||0||3|