Qantas has announced that it will lease two Airbus A330-300 aircraft from fellow oneworld partner Finnair to expand internationally.
As of October 2023, Qantas will add around one million seats to its international network over 12 months compared to its current schedule. The airline says that this will be made possible through a combination of more Qantas aircraft returning to service, new aircraft joining the fleet and an arrangement with oneworld partner Finnair to operate two Airbus A330 aircraft on two Qantas routes.
From 29th October 2023, the following routes will see expansion:
- Melbourne-Los Angeles: flights to increase from daily to nine-a-week, increasing capacity by around 60% with more Airbus A380s
- Sydney-Auckland-New York: flights increase from three to four-a-week
Tokyo (from 26th November 2023):
- Sydney-Tokyo: increase from daily to double-daily
- Melbourne-Tokyo: increases from 4-weekly to daily (service moves to Tokyo Narita Airport)
- Brisbane-Tokyo: increases from 3-weekly to daily (service moves to Tokyo Narita Airport)
- Sydney-Shanghai: flights resume after more than three years with a daily A330 flight
- Sydney-Hong Kong: capacity boosted by more than 50% over the peak Australian summer season, with daily flights to be operated by a mix of A380 and A330 aircraft
- Melbourne-Hong Kong: increases from 4-weekly to daily
- Sydney-Singapore: flights increase from 14- to 15-weekly from 31st March 2024
- Melbourne-Singapore: flights increase from 10- to 14-weekly from 31st March 2024
- Melbourne-Delhi: flights to increase from 3- to 6-a-week over the peak Australian summer season
Pacific and Tasman:
- Brisbane-Wellington: new route; operates daily with Embraer E190 aircraft
- Brisbane – Honiara, Solomon Islands: new route; operates 3-weekly with Embraer E190 aircraft
- Sydney-Christchurch: flights increase from 11- to 14-weekly
- Sydney-Queenstown: flights increase by up to one per week, with up to 14 flights over the peak Australian summer season
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The rebound in demand for international travel since borders reopened has been incredibly strong and this boost to our network will add hundreds of thousands of seats in time for the busy Australian summer holiday period. Qantas has been the most on-time major domestic airline for the past eight months in a row and that improved performance means we can release some of the aircraft we’ve had in reserve. That reflects more parts of the aviation supply chain returning to normal and it’s a huge credit to the hard work of our people across the Group. While airlines globally are working to restore capacity to meet demand, there is still a mismatch between supply and demand for international flying. But with more of our aircraft back in the air, new 787s joining our fleet and our contract with Finnair, we’ve got more seats for our customers and more opportunity for Qantas crew as we increase our own flying. We know our customers are looking for great value and this additional capacity will also put downward pressure on fares.said Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas.
The network changes will see the Group’s international capacity grow to around 100% of pre-COVID levels by March 2024, up from 44% 12 months ago and 84% today. Most of the flying announced today will be powered by the 2,400 pilots and cabin crew Qantas has recruited into the Group since borders reopened; a further 300 people will be needed by the end of the year.
The Finnair A330 aircraft will operate selected Qantas flights between Sydney and Singapore from late October and all flights between Sydney and Bangkok from late March 2024, freeing up Qantas aircraft and crew to boost flying elsewhere. For the first two-and-a-half years of this agreement, flights will be operated by Finnair pilots and cabin crew, with passengers continuing to receive Qantas’ inflight food and beverage service, amenities, inflight entertainment and baggage allowance. From late 2025, two Finnair A330s will be dry leased, operating for up to three years with Qantas pilots and cabin crew, creating new jobs and further promotional opportunities within Qantas.
Over the past six months, Qantas has brought five international aircraft back into its fleet – some from long term storage and some that were on standby as operational spares while the industry stabilised. A new Boeing B787 Dreamliner arrived in May and another two will be delivered next month. The latest Qantas A380 stored in the desert was reactivated in January and an additional A380 will return to service at the end of the year following maintenance and modifications to the cabin.
This announcement comes as Qantas prepares to resume San Francisco flights next week and launch its inaugural service from Sydney to New York via Auckland next month. Seasonal services to Rome and flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong will resume in June.
Featured image by Qantas
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