Qantas and its subsidiary Jetstar will cut international capacity by about 90 per cent, and domestic capacity by around 60 per cent starting from the end of March until “at least” the end of May this year.

The Qantas Group, which is based in Australia, said this is due to “significant falls” in travel demand because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and new government restrictions across multiple jurisdictions in recent days.

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison ordered a 14-day self-isolation for anyone arriving in the country on March 15, according to BBC. The measure took effect on midnight on Sunday (13:00 GMT).

Last week, the Group announced that Qantas and Jetstar will reduce overall capacity by 23 per cent until mid-September this year. It added that the previously announced cuts in place from the end of May through mid-September will remain in place, and “are likely to be increased, depending on demand”.

The capacity cuts also include the grounding of around 150 aircraft, which includes almost all of the Group’s wide-body fleet. Last week, the Group said it will ground eight of its 12 A380 aircraft until mid-September this year.

The Group said it is currently working through details of the affected routes across Qantas and Jetstar, which will be announced in the coming days.

The Group will use also use domestic passenger aircraft for freight-only flights to replace lost capacity from regular scheduled services.

“Despite the deep cuts, the national carrier’s critical role in transporting people and goods on key international, domestic, routes will be maintained,” said the Group in a press release.

Arrangements for affected passengers

According to the Qantas Group, customers with existing bookings on any domestic or international flights until May 31 who decide not to travel can cancel their flight and retain the value of the booking as a travel credit voucher. The Group added that this needs to be processed by March 31 this year.

For those who make a new domestic or international booking but later decide not to travel, they can cancel their flight and retain the value of the booking as a Qantas travel credit or Jetstar travel voucher. The Group said this applies to bookings made from March 10 until March 31 for travel before May 31 this year.

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The Group said those who booked their tickets through a travel agency or a third-party website need to contact them directly to make changes to their booking.

The Group is also asking customers not to call the contact centres because they are experiencing long call wait times due to high demand. /