Qantas and Jetstar have announced a range of flight reductions and cancellations as a result of reduced demand because of the Coronavirus.
Unsurprisingly, flights to China and Hong Kong are the main cities affected, however there have been flight reductions across the entire network as follows:
Qantas International will cut 16 per cent of Asia capacity until at least the end of May, impacting flights from Australia to mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
- Sydney-Shanghai (the airline’s sole route to mainland China) – will remain suspended
- Sydney-Hong Kong – reduced from 14 return flights per week to 7
- Brisbane-Hong Kong – reduced from 7 return flights per week to 4
- Melbourne-Hong Kong – reduced from 7 return flights per week to 5
- Melbourne-Singapore – flights to be operated by Boeing 787s instead of larger Airbus 380s (approx. 250 less seats per flight)
Qantas will reduce flights across the Tasman by 6 per cent with cancellations on Sydney-Auckland, Melbourne-Auckland and Brisbane-Christchurch. Jetstar will reduce its Tasman flying by 5 per cent.
Jetstar Group will cut its capacity to Asia by 14 per cent until at least the end of May, impacting flights from Australia to Japan and Thailand, and intra-Asia flights.
- Cairns-Tokyo (Narita), Cairns-Osaka, Gold Coast-Tokyo (Narita) and Melbourne & Sydney-Phuket will each be reduced by up to two return flights per week.
- Each of the Jetstar airlines in Asia – Jetstar Asia (Singapore), Jetstar Japan and Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) – have suspended flights to mainland China and are reducing flights across the region. In particular, Jetstar Asia is reducing total seats by 15 per cent.
- The Group is looking at transferring an A320 aircraft from Jetstar to QantasLink to meet increased demand from the resources sector in Western Australia.
Qantas and Jetstar will reduce total domestic capacity by 2.3 per cent for the second half of the financial year to better match demand.
Most of these adjustments have already been published with the balance to be made over the coming days. Cancellations are largely focussed on travel between major capital cities at off-peak times to minimise customer impact.
Demand for regional services is largely stable, meaning that recently announced routes will start as planned, including Sydney-Ballina (Byron Bay), Sydney-Mildura, Tamworth-Brisbane and Sydney-Orange as well as additional flights from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island and from Sydney to Bendigo. Jetstar’s new Melbourne-Busselton (Margaret River) flights are also unaffected.
Read the full Qantas media release here.
What does this mean for flighat ticket prices?
At the moment, there may be a small surge in prices as passengers are moved to other flights and destinations, perceived to be free from Coronavirus, particularly with other airlines like Cathay Pacific or China Southern who are still flying to those regions.
With flights to Asia out of popularity, other destinations perceived as ‘safe’ are surging. These include London, Paris and New York.
Once the Coronavirus dilemma is solved, there will be a jump in both demand and short term ticket prices to Asia, before airlines return to their capacity to pre-Coronavirus levels.
Until then, it’s a waiting game.
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