Qantas is adding capacity ‘as soon as possible’ despite previous problems – Australian Aviation

Victor Pody shot this Qantas 717, VH-YQS

Qantas is making a fresh attempt to increase its domestic capacity despite a series of issues that impacted its services earlier this year.

The Flying Kangaroo said in a statement on Tuesday it would increase seats for sale in the second half of the year “as soon as possible”, but added it could still maintain “operational reliability”.

Earlier this year, Qantas was the worst airline for cancellations as it struggled with staff shortages and sick leave, but this week it bounced back and was the best performing airline.

The Flying Kangaroo said the turnaround came as it invested $200 million for the remainder of the fiscal year to hire additional crew members, train new recruits and pay overtime at contact centers.

It also said it had introduced a new “conservative” approach to scheduling, which meant 20 per cent of available places would remain in reserve.

Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Group, said: “It is clear that maintaining our pre-COVID levels of service requires many more operational buffers than it used to, especially when you factor in the sickness spikes and supply chain delays that the entire industry is grappling with .

“This means we have more crew and more aircraft on standby and will need to adjust our flight plan to accommodate this until we are certain additional support is no longer needed.”

Across the industry, the domestic industry peaked in June at 97 percent of pre-pandemic passenger numbers, but it came with all-time records for delays, broken in that month and in April and July.

Since then, the industry has hired thousands of additional staff and cut flights to improve the passenger experience.

Tuesday’s news, however, suggests Qantas will soon make a new attempt to return to 100 per cent of pre-pandemic capacity.

It comes a day after Brisbane Airport said its domestic terminal will likely be 100 per cent made up during the busiest times during the holiday season.

The airport expects 55,000 people to pass through its domestic terminal on peak travel days, alongside 14,000 international passengers.

So far, the busiest day at the airport since 2019 was in September this year, with 12,300 international travellers.

Brisbane Airport itself reported a “very smooth period” during the state’s recent school holiday, with the maximum wait time to go through security being just 20 minutes.

The organization’s estimates supported an independent analysis by Australian Aviation, which showed Melbourne was coping well with the surge in numbers.

The total number of delays and cancellations is also down to 2019 levels, with on-time arrivals at 69.3 percent and on-time departures at 68.5 percent.

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