Qantas plans premium airline for Asia

16 Aug 2011

Qantas announced plans for a new “premium airline based in Asia”, which will cater to the growing numbers of frequent travellers in the Asia-Pacific region.

The airline “will have a new name, a new brand, a new aircraft and an exciting new look and feel,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas chief executive.

Its route network has not yet been revealed but, Joyce said, “we have narrowed down our location options and an announcement will be made when we have completed negotiations”.

In general, he explained that their latest product would “be offering same day services to and within Asia, and overall frequencies to Asia from Australia will grow. We will be able to feed traffic into the new hub from Europe and Australia and Asian ports.” The carrier’s initial fleet will feature 11 A320s, and though it will not be called Qantas, will leverage on the “Qantas know-how”.

The launch is based on commissioned research, which revealed that within 20 years, 16 percent of the world’s middle class will be in East Asia with a high concentration of millionaires. Currently, China has the fourth largest population of millionaires and India the 12th largest. Asia “is already the world’s largest, fastest growing and most profitable aviation market,” Joyce added. “We want to be growing with Asia.”

With Qantas International, described by Joyce as “a steadily fading business, suffering big financial losses and a substantial decline in market share”, its management has designed a five-year plan to jump start recovery.

The programme consists not only of the new carrier but also the roll out of Jetstar Japan, (see story here) and upgrading of Boeing B747s, lounges and inflight entertainment services (see story here). Other developments include restructuring its Joint Services Agreement with British Airways (see story here), new direct flights between Sydney and Santiago from April next year and the purchase of up to 110 new Airbus A320 aircraft while retiring four B747s.

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Alisha Haridasani

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