Qantas unveils changes to Asian network

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Qantas Airways will cancel some services to Singapore and Hong Kong and retime others as it restructures its Asian network.

The changes are a direct result of the Australian carrier's alliance with Emirates, where it will shift its hub for European services to Dubai from 1 April. The alliance was recently granted interim authorisation by Australia's competition authority and is awaiting final approval.

From 31 March, the Oneworld carrier will scale back its Perth-Singapore services from twice daily to daily, and it will cancel its Adelaide-Singapore and Perth-Hong Kong services.

The airline will also raise its Brisbane-Hong Kong service from four times weekly to daily, and it will add four additional weekly services between Sydney and Singapore.

Qantas International chief executive Simon Hickey says that the changes will increase the capacity on its routes to Hong Kong and Singapore.

"The number of dedicated seats on Qantas services to Hong Kong and Singapore is increasing significantly, because capacity previously set aside for customers going to Europe via these hubs can be freed up," he says.

The airline has also brought forward the cancellation of its Frankfurt services from August to 15 April.

Qantas's remaining services to Asia will be retimed to arrive at their destinations during the day, providing more convenient onward connections on partner airlines, including China Eastern Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines.

"The maturing Jetstar network gives travellers another set of alternatives once they land in Asia," adds Hickey.

Qantas will also add Kuala Lumpur to its network through a codeshare on Emirates' Sydney-Kuala Lumpur-Dubai service, and the carrier will codeshare on Emirates' other services between Australia and Asia.

The airline adds that it will open a new lounge in Singapore on 31 March and a new first class lounge in Hong Kong in September and that it is also examining the upgrading of business class cabins on its Airbus A330 fleet to include lie-flat sleeper seats.

In the longer term, Qantas says that it is considering to open up more direct services to destinations such as Beijing, Seoul, Mumbai, Delhi and Tokyo Haneda once its Boeing 787-9s start to arrive from 2016.