Qantas Airways has plans to drop the Melbourne-Dubai-London flights it is currently operating with Emirates in order to boost its services on the UK route and meet high demand from the Asian market.
The move also comes in the wake of heightened security measures that affect flyers from Dubai and other parts of the Middle East.
The Aussie carrier revealed the plans on Thursday when it announced the sale of tickets for its upcoming non-stop flights between Perth and London, which will begin on March 24, 2018.
The new Perth-London service will fly passengers from Melbourne to the UK and back without passing through Dubai, eventually reducing the travel time by more than one hour.
“The new QF9/10 will replace Qantas’ existing Melbourne-Dubai-London services,” Qantas said in a statement released on Thursday.
“With a faster flying time and quicker connections in Perth, customers travelling to London from Melbourne will reduce their total travel time by more than an hour compared with existing Qantas A380 services.”
The airline’s A380 that currently serves the Melbourne-London route will be redeployed to meet periods of high demand from Melbourne and Sydney to destinations in Asia, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, Qantas added.
The airline, however, assured that its partnership with Emirates will continue to deliver services for the European market.
Qantas customers in Melbourne will have the option to fly with partner Emirates on Qantas code to Dubai and then direct nearly 40 destinations in Europe. Emirates is up-gauging its third daily flight from the Victorian city from a Boeing 777-300ER to an A380 service from the 25th March, 2018.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the route will boost tourism in Australia and meet the growing demand from travellers. He noted that since its announcement in December 2016, the Perth-London service had attracted a lot of interest.
This route makes Western Australia a new tourism gateway for Australia. We know from our research that there’s a lot of appetite to explore the West, not just from British and European visitors but also from Aussies on their way to London.
A lot of business travellers, particularly in the resources sector, will stop off in Perth on their way to the UK.
Oman’s new budget airline SalamAir will operate as many as 12 Airbus A320 narrow body jets by 2020, as it aims for profitability by the end 2018, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
Launched in January, SalamAir has started flights from Muscat to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Salalah in Oman.
It plans to increase its fleet to between 10 and 12 A320s by 2020 from the three it has leased from Chile’s LATAM Airlines, CEO Francois Bouteiller said in Dubai.
Two to three of those will be added in 2018, he said.
Bouteiller said the airline is yet to decide if it should purchase or continue to lease aircraft but that it would only be interested in current model Airbus A320s and not the ‘neo’ variant.
SalamAir expects to carry between 750,000 and 800,000 passengers in 2017 with a load factor or how full its planes are of between 70 per cent and 80 per cent.
Bouteiller said the airline would mostly fly to destinations within three hours flying time of Oman.
The carrier, owned by the Omani government pension funds and the Muscat municipality, will launch up to five new routes from May: Medina in Saudi Arabia, Sialkot, Karachi and Multan in Pakistan and Dhaka in Bangladesh, Bouteiller said.
SalamAir is the second airline operating in Oman after state-owned Oman Air. SalamAir operates a single economy class product with 174 seats.
Malaysia Airlines has offered to lease Airbus A330 jets from Alitalia if the struggling Italian airline is wound up, the Asian carrier’s chief executive said on Wednesday.
Alitalia is preparing for special administration proceedings after workers rejected its latest rescue plan, making it impossible for the loss-making airline to secure funds to keep its aircraft flying.
Workers are hoping the Italian government will step in with an alternative rescue deal.
Malaysia Airlines could take between six and eight Airbus A330s from Alitalia, CEO Peter Bellew told Reuters in Dubai. “I hope Alitalia stays in business but it doesn’t look good to me today. I think it’s hard to see how they are going come back from the pressure they are sitting on at the moment,” he said.
An Alitalia spokesman declined to comment.
Malaysia Airlines is emerging from a turnaround after suffering two tragedies in 2014, when flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared in what remains a mystery, and then flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine.
Its load factors or how full its planes are averaged around 80 per cent in the three months to March 31, Bellew said.
Malaysia Airlines wants to lease between six and eight A330s or Boeing 777s for use from 2018 and a further seven to nine from 2019, he said, expecting to finalise most of those deals in the next four to six weeks.
This is an increase on the six for 2018 and six for 2019 he told Reuters last month he was interested in. “The world really is awash right now,” Bellew said with regard to spare wide-body aircraft, adding that he also saw opportunities to take aircraft from Middle East carriers.
There are really good deals out there at the moment. It’s a buyer’s market right now. Bellew also said he planned to make a decision on an order for 30-35 new Airbus A330neo or Boeing 787-9 wide-body planes in the next four to six months to replace existing aircraft in its fleet from the end of 2019.
If the prices are good we will do an order, he said.
But they need to sharpen their pencils because they are still unrealistic with the pricing in the current market. Malaysia Airlines would look for more leases if it doesn’t get the pricing it wants, he said.
It could also convert or add to an existing order for 25 of Boeing’s new generation 737 MAX 8 narrow body aircraft or the proposed bigger MAX 10 version currently being offered informally to the market by the US plane maker.
Bellew did not say how many could be ordered or when a decision might be made.
Industry sources said on Tuesday that Boeing was nearing a decision to launch the MAX 10 plane at the Paris Airshow in June.
Malaysia Airlines plans to trim its narrowbody fleet to between 35 and 40 aircraft from 54 currently and increase its number of wide-bodies from 15 to 35.
The airline is aiming for a return to profitability by 2018 and stock market listing in March the following year.
Bellew said he believed a majority of the airline would be listed.