Qantas to cut some London flights in May

Qantas is following in the footsteps of Singapore Airlines (see news, April 3) and will drop several A380 services into London next month.

The flights being axed are those which operate between Dubai and London Heathrow.

The Australian airline will cancel flight QF10 between London and Dubai on May 12, May 19 and May 28, while flight QF1 from Dubai to London will be cancelled on May 13, May 20 and May 29. 

Stephen Thompson, Qantas’ head of international sales, told the Sydney Morning Herald: “What the market will notice is Qantas international becoming more commercially nimble, which is a reflection of the ultra-competitive environment we’re in.”

May and June tend to be slack months for travel, falling as they do between Easter and the summer peak, nevertheless this cancelling of flights is a relatively new trend and is not being undertaken by every carrier.

Reader feedback suggests that while Qantas can fill the sectors between Australia and Dubai, it faces difficulty filling seats on the final leg to London. Some reports suggest that the Dubai to London flights are running half-empty.

This is because many passengers are disembarking in Dubai and switching to Emirates for their onward flights to mainland Europe, Scandinavia and so on.

And Qantas has not had the success it anticipated in filling seats between Dubai and London, presumably because of the highly competitive nature of this route.

It had been rumoured that Qantas would axe more Dubai to London flights in its recent round of cutbacks (see news, February 27) but the London route was spared — until today.

However, Qantas says it remains committed to operating a double-daily A380 services into London for the future.

Alex McWhirter

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  • Following on from our news item, we now have further comment from Qantas about rebooking procedures for affected passengers.

    “Qantas will operate one daily service (instead of two) on three days in May.”

    “Passengers booked on flights QF1 and QF10 will be accommodated on QF9 and QF2 on the sectors between Dubai and London and vice versa. Or [they will be accommodated] on other Emirates services as required.”

  • Wonder how QF passengers in premium economy will be rebooked. given EK doesn’t have PE.

    This partnership remains awfully one-sided, QF passengers fly on EK flights, doubt too many EK passengers get fed onto QF flights that aren’t domestic in Australia.

    LHR-DXB was always going to be tricky, unless QF marketed it heavily – against its partner, or started selling tickets from LHR into EK destinations in Asia – which is unlikely.

    If LHR is worth retaining it may be better yielding for QF to resume hubbing through airports that it can sell more 5th freedom tickets between – Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok were the previous ones, but the first two have vigorous competition and the third is low yielding.

  • It was merely a matter of time, as i mentioned on here a few months ago, with the difficulties of Qantas. The Australian Parliament would be unable to move quickly enough to change the foreign ownership rules, and the senate probably reject them anyway.

    Emirates would swallow them up in this regard, and take their business DBX – the EU…and this is it.
    This is how EK operate, and as discussed many times on here, the strategy and model of how Etihad operate, is quite the opposite, of co-operation and influence via investment and Board places.

    Similarly to Air New Zealand, Emirates have again beaten back a National World Airline, to operating in a limited format from its former self, and Country base.
    How rapidly still the Airline world is changing, away now from Alliances, and more concentrating on co-operations and other groups of Airlines, with inter-investment, as Etihad demonstrate well.

    The industry Airlines appears to be shrinking, swallowed up by the larger players, be they Low cost regionally, or worldwide!

  • Nothing to see here really. They have done this in the past on all flights, it is called a seasonal low.

  • Hello Jimmywright
    What is significant here is that only the Dubai-London-Dubai sectors are being cancelled. So presumably Qantas is achieving viable loads on its A380 flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Dubai. In the days when Qantas routed to Europe via Singapore and Bangkok one wonders whether or not it would have cancelled flights (between Singapore/Bangkok and Europe) so readily for commercial reasons ?

  • The Emirates strategy was flawed from day one. It was an accountant’s solution to Qantas’ problems but because it completely ignored the human / attitudinal factors, it can only result in further declines in airline performance.

    The previous Asian hubs provided attractive stop-over holidays, excellent business connections both within Asia, and, via Qantas, Cathay, Finnair and BA, (all One-World) across Europe. I for one, will not fly via, or stop over in, countries that are hostile to my religion, my preferred beverages, or my sexual preferences, and even limit my choice of breakfast because a piece of ham or bacon may offend them. It’s called “Aussie CULTURE”, it’s what Australians want to enjoy when they travel – and which Alan Joyce has treated with contempt. He really should go !!

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