The Qantas fleet revamp gambit

Alan Joyce.jpgSo, has Qantas blinked first or is it the most prescient of the major Asia Pacific carriers?

This morning, I was at the airline’s half-year financial results press conference in Sydney when it announced that it made a half-year profit, with the higher traffic at low-cost subsidiary Jetstar helping the full-service carrier Qantas ride through the rough times.

The more significant announcement, however, was a fleet revamp. Their nine newest Boeing 747-400s will have the first class cabins taken out, while eight Airbus A380s due to be delivered from 2012 will not have any first class seats.

This is a major response to what some airlines, including Qantas, believe is a structural change to passenger traffic demand patterns in the wake of the economic crisis, from which the world is still recovering.

It is also different from Singapore Airlines’ response to the crisis, which its CEO Chew Choon Seng spelt out in his Airline Business interview last month.

I’m interviewing Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (above) tomorrow for the next edition of Airline Business, and it would be interesting to get his views on this and other issues relating to Qantas.

Qantas 747-400.jpg

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