COVID-19 outbreak: Qantas announces extreme service cuts

Qantas Dreamliner Quokka

Qantas will slash more flight services and ground over half of the A380 fleet in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Qantas has announced further cuts to its international flying, reducing capacity by almost a quarter for the next six months.

The latest cuts follow the spread of the Coronavirus into Europe and North America over the past fortnight, as well as its continued spread through Asia, which has resulted in a sudden and significant drop in forward travel demand.

These additional changes will bring the total international capacity reduction for Qantas and Jetstar from 5 per cent to 23 per cent versus the same time last year and extend these cuts until mid-September 2020.

Qantas COVID-19 outbreak response: the latest changes

Eight of Qantas’ 12 A380 aircraft will be parked until mid-September: Qantas is taking this step because of weak demand. A further two A380s are undergoing scheduled heavy maintenance and cabin upgrades, leaving two of its A380s flying. It’s unclear whether either of the two A380 aircraft that will remain in service will be refurbished.

Routes to London will be altered: From April 20, Sydney-Singapore-London flights (QF1 and QF2) will be temporarily re-routed to a Sydney-Perth-London service. The new route will be operated by a 787.

Qantas’ new Brisbane-Chicago route will be delayed: The start of Qantas’ new Brisbane-Chicago route was scheduled to commence from 15 April. This has now been postponed to mid-September.

The new Qantas Singapore First lounge will temporarily close: The suspension of the A380 and First Class from Singapore routes will see the Qantas First Lounge in Singapore close temporarily, with customers instead invited to use the adjacent Qantas Business Lounge.

Jetstar will also make significant cuts to its international network, including suspending flights to Bangkok and reducing flights from Australia to Vietnam and Japan by almost half. Jetstar’s daily Gold Coast to Seoul flight was suspended last week.

Domestically, Qantas and Jetstar capacity reductions will be increased from 3 per cent to 5 per cent through to mid-September 2020, in line with broader economic conditions.

In total, this is the equivalent of grounding 38 Qantas and Jetstar aircraft across the international and domestic network.

Qantas and Jetstar announce change waiver

To provide customers with greater flexibility and confidence when they book, Qantas and Jetstar will waive change fees for new international bookings made from today until the end of March, if customers change their travel plans.

This applies to travel commencing up to 30 June 2020 and is limited to one free change per customer. Customers will need to pay any fare difference.

Will the latest round of Qantas and Jetstar service cuts impact you? Let us know in the comments!

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