QANTAS: Bonjour Paris or deep crust pizza in Chicago?
In an interview on 6PR late last week, Alan Joyce has confirmed that Qantas is talking to Air France and other European airlines about servicing Paris out of Perth, possibly after they receive the next delivery of Boeing 787ER Dreamliners in June this year.
Also, cast your minds back to pre-pandemic, when Qantas was months away from commencing an east coast direct route to Chicago, USA. Apparently, that’s back on the table too.
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Qantas probably doesn’t have enough planes to service both routes at the moment, so it’s likely to be one or the other. What might be the determinant is Perth Airport. Qantas has had a rocky relationship with the airport entity over the last few years with disputes that have ended up in court.
More recently, Qantas has been at loggerheads with Perth Airport over the expansion of immigration and customs capabilities for the international section at the airlines Perth terminal. Lack of expansion has already suspended flights to Johannesburg and Jakarta out of the West Australian capital, according to Qantas.
Alan Joyce interveiw
All this comes from an interview Joyce did with Oliver Peterson on Perth station 6PR. You can listen to all 14 minutes below:
So aside from some assurances on Qantas safety over the series of recent flight turnbacks, and some disingenuous comments about fare pricing, Joyce puts the boot into Perth Airport as an inhibitor to their desired expansion.
A330s to Perth
Joyce points out that it wants to put more A330’s on the East/West Perth route, so that passengers get that international business suite, instead of the cruddy 737 domestic business class jets, but can’t because it is using them for international flying while it waits on some A380s to come back into service.
Western Gateway – Rome, Johanesburg, Jakarta Paris?
When asked if Johannesburg, Rome and Jakarta would come back, Joyce said that Rome would be back for the European summer, that’s June to October 2023. Paris is on the cards but . . . because of:
“…customs issues that we are having in all the terminals we are operating to – which we are trying to resolve, with the customs authorities and the airport.”Alan Joyce CEO Qantas on 6PR
Qantas wants a long-term agreement over the use of terminals to sort this, and that is going to take some time apparently, with both long-term (terminal change) and short-term (customs processing facilities in the current terminal).
Joyce is keen to have the airport and customs issues resolved because…
“It will unlock a huge amount of growth for Qantas that we are very keen to do.”Alan Joyce CEO Qantas on 6PR
Joyce says Perth is potentially its largest airport operation, second only to Sydney if the customs/airport issues can be resolved, with narrow-body aircraft servicing Asian destinations. In a further dig at Perth Airport, he reminds us that Aircraft are ‘moveable assets, so Asian narrow-body routes could be run out of Brisbane for example. He portrays the airport as the only barrier to Perth becoming the ‘Western Gateway’.
After the delays caused by the pandemic, Qantas is set to receive in 2023 one new aircraft per month initially, moving to one every three weeks, including both wide (international) and narrow (mainly domestic) body planes. And apart from a few Dreamliners from Boeing, all the rest are Airbus planes.
It’s important to remember that Joyce and Qantas are masters of Public Relations, so this little interview seems really designed to put pressure on Perth Airport to sort itself out and conclude a deal favourable to Qantas. Joyce has a history of getting state governments to ‘bid’ for Qantas activity in their state. He often plays off governments of the eastern states getting to Brisbane to fight with Sydney and Melbourne over assets, everything from training and maintenance facilities through to administrative headquarters.
Oh, and I’m glad to hear Rome is coming back.