Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Domestic transcontinental air war heats up in Australia

Qantas A330-203 (c/n 892) climbs from Rwy 25R at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on December 1, 2010.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

In an effort to counter Virgin Blue’s new business class product on domestic Australian services, Qantas announced it will deploy internationally configured Boeing 747s and Airbus A330s with lie-flat beds on transcontinental routes to Perth. It will also provide additional flights and more spacious domestic A330s. Next week, Blue is expected unveil its new business class product aboard 737NGs and A330s to be added to the fleet from May. Those A330s will be deployed on transcontinental routes.

QF CEO Alan Joyce said the changes were a direct response to the growing demand for travel to Perth, particularly from business passengers. “Increasing the premium service we provide business customers flying from east to west will help further cement our position as the ‘Best for Business’ airline,” said Joyce, who noted that passengers in both cabins of the 747 between Perth and Sydney “will experience Qantas’ globally renowned international service.” He said that business passengers will experience the Skybed business class seats, and passengers in both cabins will have personal IFE options.

QF operates A330-300s, 767-300ERs and 737-800s on its major domestic routes and enjoys a virtual monopoly in the significant business class market, which is particularly strong on transcontinental routes to Perth owing to a resources boom in Western Australia.

QF is also adding more services to Perth, lifting capacity by 15% as well as upgrading aircraft types. It will offer 90% of services with widebody equipment from May. QF has also been upgrading its meal service on long-haul domestic flights to international standards.

(Geoffrey Thomas - Air Transport World)

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