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Qantas To Cut Q3 Capacity By Approximately A Third As COVID-19 Cases Rise

By Dave Simpson

Qantas Airways Ltd has pared approximately a third of planned domestic and international capacity in the March quarter to better match travel demand after a rise in COVID-19 infections, it has said.

The airline, which ends its financial year in June, said that it will provide more details on the impact of the changes when it issues half-year results in late February.

Qantas has not made material capacity adjustments for the fourth quarter, it added.

Latest Airline To Make Major Capacity Cuts

The Australian carrier is the latest airline globally to make major March quarter capacity cuts as the highly infectious Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads globally, dampening travel demand and leading to rising sick calls among staff.

Rival Virgin Australia has said that it will cut capacity by 25% in January and February.

In Europe, Finnair has said that it will reduce February capacity by 20%, following earlier cuts by Ryanair and Lufthansa, while in the United States, airlines have cancelled thousands of flights amid an increase in sick calls.

Domestic Capacity

Qantas said that it will run 70% of its pre-COVID-19 domestic capacity in the third quarter, down from a prior forecast of 102%, at a time when Australia is reporting record numbers of COVID-19 cases due to a runaway Omicron outbreak.

International Capacity

International capacity will fall to 20% of pre-COVID-19 levels from 30% due to tighter travel restrictions in countries including Japan, Indonesia and Thailand, Qantas added.

Qantas Chief Executive Statements

"We have the flexibility to add capacity back if demand improves earlier than expected, but 70% still represents a lot of domestic flying and it's a quantum improvement on the levels we faced only a few months ago," Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said in a statement.

He said that early bookings for the Easter holidays in April are promising for domestic and international flights.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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