Qantas expects to reach 115% of pre-COVID domestic capacity levels by April

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Sydney Airport as Australia reacts to the new coronavirus Omicron variant in Sydney

SYDNEY -Qantas Airways Ltd expects to reach more than 115% of pre-COVID domestic capacity levels by April as Australian state borders open, Chief Executive Alan Joyce said on Tuesday.

“Domestically we are seeing huge demand when borders open,” he said at a CAPA Centre for aviation event. “We have seen a surge in 24 hours in the Queensland market alone.”

Queensland on Monday brought forward the opening of its domestic borders to Dec. 13, from a previous estimate of Dec. 17.

Low-cost offshoot Jetstar should reach 120% of pre-COVID domestic capacity by April, while the premium Qantas brand should reach 115%, Joyce said.

He said the airline remained on track to decide by the end of the year on a preferred supplier for more than 100 planes to replace its ageing domestic fleet.

In the international market, it will take far longer to recover to pre-COVID levels, though Qantas will bring back some of its A380 super-jumbo planes for flights from Sydney to London and New York from next July.

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Joyce said that although some decline in international business travel was expected, his airline relied on leisure travellers for 60% of premium revenue, large companies for 20% and small and medium businesses for 20%.

(Reporting by Jamie FreedEditing by Chizu Nomiyama and Gerry Doyle)

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