COVID-19 is continuing to cause chaos around the world, and the travel and tourism industries are feeling it very heavily. Most airlines around the world have announced massive cuts on services as the demand continues to get worse and worse. Our airlines in Australia are definitely feeling the pinch, and they’re actually in quite a lot of trouble. Countless media outlets are reporting that both Virgin and Qantas are in bailout talks as the situation worsens day by day with no real end in sight at this stage. As the demand has continued to fall, Qantas has today announced further reductions.
The Qantas Group has announced that further cuts will be in effect for both international and domestic operations with a large number of aircraft planned to be grounded.
A week ago, Qantas announced to the media that they would heavily be reducing their services amid the virus. Today’s statement is in addition to the 23% of flights that were previously announced for cancellation. The flights that have been already withdrawn could also receive further cuts.
International capacity will be reduced by 90%
As you would imagine, international travel has been the hardest hit out of all flights cancelled. Day by day, countries have been imposing either self-isolation or in some cases, closing of borders. This puts a huge dent on passenger traffic, and it’s not economical to have aircraft operating without them being filled. Qantas will be cutting their international capacity by up to 90%, and this is expected to last until the end of May this year. The airline has also stated in their press release that 150 aircraft will be grounded. As a result, almost all of the international fleet will be not utilised for passenger services during this time.
Domestic capacity will be reduced by 60%
Even though International travel is the most affected, the domestic sector isn’t immune. With Australia bringing out new restrictions, the lower demand and lesser amount of international connections, it makes sense to cut back on these services. I can imagine the only routes that will remain are the golden triangle routes (Sydney – Melbourne, Sydney-Brisbane, Sydney – Canberra etc.) I would also say a very few coast to coast services would remain in place as well. Qantas will be announcing every route that will be cut in the coming days.
Passenger aircraft will be used for freight purposes
While there will be a lot of aircraft grounded during the next couple of months, the airline won’t let all of those aircraft rest the whole time. The airline has stated that they will be using some of the fleet for moving cargo and supplies. Yes, Qantas does have their own freight company, but this is a good way to at least get some use out of these sitting planes.
It’s reported that Cathay Pacific and Korean Air are already doing this and I could imagine that a lot more airlines will follow and do the same thing.
I’ll continue to update the website with more information as it comes through. This is a very tense time for everyone involved, but we need to remember, this will be over, and we need to ride it out in the meantime. If you have flights booked and need to cancel them, I’d recommend not using the phone lines unless it’s urgent otherwise you’ll be waiting a long time – be patient.