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Qantas: & Jetstar to increase domestic flights

Qantas: & Jetstar to increase domestic flights

Qantas released a statement today, that announced intended increases in Qantas and Jetstar flights in line with the easing of domestic flying restrictions, particularly the prospective lifting of state border closures.


Qantas is running vastly reduced domestic schedules at the moment, underwritten by federal government funding. They plan to increase from the current 5% capacity of pre-coronavirus schedules, to 15% by the end of June 2020.

Further, it is estimating that flights will increase in July – dependent on demand and the relaxation of state border restrictions – to 40% of pre-pandemic capacity.

Increased flights details

Flight increases will be seen between capital cities, and regional routes:

  • Increase in capital city routes including Canberra, particularly Melbourne-Sydney
  • Intra-state flights for Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. Increases particularly affecting Broome, Cairns and Rockhampton
  • Flights to resume on 8 routes not currently operational
  • Qantas to commence flights from Sydney to Byron Bay (Ballina). Launch of this route was postponed due to the pandemic

You can see all of the increases and frequencies on Qantas and Jetstar detailed here. Just as an example, Sydney-Melbourne flights currently running at 5 per week, are expected to reach 46 by the end of June. The new Sydney – Byron route on Qantas (previously only the Qantas low cost division, Jetstar flew this route) will run 4 times per week.

“We know there is a lot of pent up demand for air travel and we are already seeing a big increase in customers booking and planning flights in the weeks and months ahead.

“We can quickly ramp up flying in time for the July school holidays if border restrictions have eased more by then. Normally, we plan our capacity months in advance, but in the current climate we need to be flexible to respond to changing restrictions and demand levels.”Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO

Pandemic Safety

Don’t expect social distancing or middle-seat-free on board as part of Qantas’s so-called ‘Fly Well‘ program. But do expect contactless check-in, enhanced cleaning, masks and sanitising wipes provided to all customers.

Realistically, you might get a vacant middle seat if capacity immediately prior to the suspension of most domestic flights is any indication. On my last flight just prior to restrictions, you would have been lucky to count the plane as 25% full.

Booking Flexibility

Currently, Qantas and Jetstar will give you one free change of date for your flight booking made before 30 June 2020 for travel between 12 June and 31 October, but you will still need to pay for any price difference in the cost of the new flight.

The same applies if you book a Classic Flight Reward points booking. You get a free change of date, or cancellation until 31 October 2020.

If Qantas or Jetstar cancel your flight, they will rebook you on the next available flight without additional cost, or issue you with a refund or flight credit.

These won’t be tack anytime soon though.

2PAXfly Takeout

The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.

It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.

This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.

A regular visitor to Byron Bay from Sydney, I am looking forward to the new Qantas service.

Joyce is right about the need for flexibility, as it must be a nightmare for Qantas, Jetstar, or indeed any airline to plan with any certainty at the moment.

Will I fly soon? I’m not sure. At the moment, the thought fills me with anxiety. On the other hand, the weight of my delayed desire to hop on a plane, any plane, is increasing. I am sure that very soon the desire to fly will outweigh the anxiety. However, I will be ‘Naomi Campbell-ing‘ my seat!

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