Qantas re-routes

Courtesy Qantas

Courtesy Qantas

IT looks like a move to appease the Singapore authorities when Qantas announced it would increase frequencies to the country’s Changi Airport after a decision to move its hub for European flights plying the kangaroo route to Dubai International. Lest we get overly sentimental, it is but of course a business decision.

Singapore remains an important destination for the Australian flag carrier, and an important hop to other destinations in the region where Qantas may be absent. Changi’s location also provides Qantas with a more strategic positioning to take advantage of the rights of onward carriage to points without having to channel them through Australian ports.

As Qantas takes the final steps in formalizing its mega-alliance with Emirates Airlines, it has said it will boost passenger capacity between Australia and Singapore by 40 per cent as part of its wider Asian strategy. The interest is more Asia, much less Singapore as at the same time it is reducing frequencies between Perth and Singapore, and cancelling flights between Adelaide and Singapore.

Will rival Singapore Airlines benefit from this? Perhaps in a limited way, but Qantas would have probably worked a strong domestic network into the strategy. (Note that SIA too has reduced its capacity between Singapore and Perth). With the shift of its hub for European-bound flights from Changi to Dubai, the focus is more on major city connections. Besides, Qantas can now boast a higher combined capacity with Emirates through Changi. Qantas spokesperson Jacqui Kempler said: ““Combined with Emirates, we will be able to offer customers double daily services from Singapore to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.”

A significant thrust of the new Qantas so-called wider Asian strategy is more direct flights between Australia and other Asian destinations such as Beijing, Seoul, Mumbai, Delhi and Tokyo Haneda. Capacity to Hong Kong will increase by 10 per cent. This may reduce Qantas’ dependency on Singapore as its Asian hub and is not good news for Changi. There is also the threat of Emirates siphoning off Asian-bound traffic through Dubai.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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