Qantas is to reduce its planned domestic capacity in the coming weeks, following Western Australia’s decision to delay the reopening of its borders.

Last week the government of Western Australia indefinitely suspended plans to reopen its borders from early February, as a result of the rapid spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant across the country.

The move has prompted Qantas to reduce domestic capacity by around 10 per cent between February 5 and March 31, 2022. It means the carrier now expects to operate at around 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels during the third quarter of FY22.

Qantas said that “Though at a fraction of its pre-Covid levels, Qantas will maintain core connections between Perth and the rest of Australia, with up to 15 flights per week from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin, supporting essential personnel and freight”.

As reported last week, the carrier had planned to resume its nonstop service between Perth and London from late March, with daily flights available for booking from March 27, 2022.

The continued closure of Western Australia’s borders had led Qantas to use Darwin airport as a temporary departure point for its nonstop London flights, and the airline now says that “the timing to reinstate Qantas’ Perth-London route, which is currently operating via Darwin and was due to return to Western Australia in late March 2022, is under review”.

Qantas also said that it “retains the flexibility to adjust flying levels depending on demand and clarity on border re-opening in the weeks and months ahead”.

Both Qantas and Virgin Australia had been forced to reduce capacity earlier this month, as soaring levels of Covid-19 cases impacted demand.

Qantas and Virgin Australia make capacity cuts