Qantas details Asian network overhaul
The number of Qantas flights to Asian destinations will remain the same but the totoal number of seats will increase. Photo: Getty Images
Qantas will consider increasing flights to destinations such as Beijing and Delhi from 2016 using longer-range Dreamliner planes as part of an overhaul of its Asian network.
Ahead of the launch of its proposed alliance with Emirates, Qantas has provided more details of its plans for the region, including a re-timing of flights to ensure they better connect with other services.
As part of the rejig of its international network, Qantas will cease flying to Frankfurt six months earlier than planned. The airline's final flight to the German city will now be on April 15.
Qantas will also stop flying between Adelaide and Singapore on April 14, and between Perth and Hong Kong on March 31. It will reduce Perth-Singapore services from two to one a day.
However, Qantas will increase its Brisbane-Hong Kong services from four a week to seven by June, and add four additional weekly flights between Sydney and Singapore.
The number of Qantas flights to Asian destinations will remain about the same once the changes are made, but the total number of seats will increase. That is because seats that were previously set aside on Qantas planes for passengers flying to Europe will now be available to those heading to Asia.
Qantas has flagged that it is looking at an increase in destinations to Asia including Beijing, Seoul, Mumbai, Delhi and Tokyo's Haneda Airport using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft from 2016. The airline has options (but not firm orders) with Boeing to buy the longer-range 787-9 Dreamliners at a set price.
Qantas also confirmed that it is considering refurbishing its fleet of Airbus A330 planes to include lie-flat beds in business class.
In an effort to boost its appeal to travellers, it will open a new lounge at Singapore's Changi Airport on March 31. A first-class lounge in Hong Kong is scheduled to open in September.
The chief executive of Qantas International, Simon Hickey, said the first step of the changes was to restructure its existing services to Asia that would no longer be tied to onward links to Europe.
"The number of dedicated seats on Qantas services to Hong Kong and Singapore is increasing significantly, because capacity previously set aside for customers going to Europe via these hubs can be freed up," he said.
"The joint Qantas-Emirates network to Asia gives our customers a fresh set of options."
Qantas and Emirates still need final approval for their alliance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. It is expected to make its decision in March.
In December, the regulator gave tentative approval for the tie-up, which is focused on routes between Australia and Europe.
As part of the tie-up with Emirates, Qantas will take a slice of the tickets for the Middle Eastern airline's flights from Australia to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. In return, Emirates will code-share on Qantas flights to Asia, and on Jetstar services within Asia.