In light of the Western Australian government’s decision to delay indefinitely reopening its borders due to an increase in Omicron cases, Qantas has announced that it will cut its projected domestic capacity by about 10% from 5 February through 31 March 2022.
The cut is calculated on a seat per kilometre basis; this indicates the duration of transcontinental flights’ long-haul segments. According to the airline, there’s no word yet on when the Perth-London service will be relaunched, which says it’s “under evaluation.”
Qantas will retain fundamental links between Perth and the rest of Australia, with up to 15 flights a week from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Darwin, to support vital people and freight, despite its pre-COVID levels.
Depending on demand and clarity on border reopening in the weeks and months ahead, Qantas said that the company could adjust operating frequencies in announcing new cuts.
In the third quarter of FY22, Qantas Group’s domestic capacity will be reduced to 60% of pre-COVID levels.
To prepare for lower domestic capacity in the third quarter due to the impact of COVID, the airline group curtailed flights earlier this month by an additional 70 percent.
Qantas has also just declared that it intends to terminate its long-haul cabin crew agreement and abandon what the company considers “restrictive and antiquated rostering practices”. Under the current deal, Qantas long-haul flight crews can only work on Airbus A330s or Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s. According to airline management, the COVID pandemic and its effects on international aviation necessitate that Qantas International have crew members who can fly on all three aircraft types.
There would be no job losses due to Qantas’ attempt to terminate an enterprise agreement for the first time, the airline stated in its statement. A new enterprise agreement was rejected by the union and 97 percent of the voting crew after six months of negotiations with the Flight Attendants’ Association of Australia (FAAA) and other negotiating representatives.
Even Virgin Australia has reduced flights by 25% and suspended eleven routes, including its only international flight from Sydney to Fiji, in the wake of Omicron.