Domestic traffic to reach full capacity, Qantas CEO says

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce announced the carrier’s trajectory to operate a domestic capacity equivalent to 95% of pre-pandemic levels by July 1, 2021, according to a statement released on May 20, 2021.  The airline has suffered statutory losses of over $2 billion in the current fiscal year 2021 and $2.7 billion in 2020 (FY20).

Now, Qantas, together with its subsidiary Jetstar, expects to soon operate a domestic capacity well over 100% of pre-pandemic levels. The projection is based on the firm domestic and leisure demand in Australia and the gradual return of corporate travel, currently sitting at 75% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the air carrier.

The return of international traffic is currently being led by Australia’s two-way bubble with New Zealand currently operating at 60% of pre-pandemic levels and expected to increase in the remainder of 2021. However, despite the current success of Australia’s vaccination programs, the opening of the country’s border will remain heavily reliant on the vaccine.

Qantas established a stable footing and is now generating sufficient revenue to begin repaying debts taken on during the pandemic, Joyce said. The airline’s domestic crew and corporate personnel have already returned to work, while the international crew is yet to do so.  

The carrier’s active fleet, which includes all of its Boeing 787-9s and half of its A330 aircraft, is currently operating a mix of cargo, passenger and repatriation flights. In addition to the confident outlook on the domestic demand in Australia, there is hope for the return of 6 A380s into operations by 2023 out of a fleet of 12.

“We think we will reactivate all of the A380s. We spent a lot of money on them,” Joyce revealed during CAPA live on April 14, 2021. “Once demand is there, they are going to be good aircraft.”

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