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Qantas to dial back Hong Kong capacity

Qantas will downgauge some of its Hong Kong services over coming months in response to lower demand linked to the recent anti-China protests in the city.

Speaking during the airline's full-year earnings call, chief executive Alan Joyce noted that demand from Hong Kong "has taken a hit and we have seen volumes down in the immediate future by up to 10%."

"As you know, we have A330-300s flying the routes. Our intention is to downgrade them, the same product, the same service, to A330-200s, that will take around 7% of capacity out of Hong Kong and we will take that out in the next few months," he adds.

The larger A330-300s will then be deployed on other Asian routes that have seen growth, such as Singapore and Manila, Joyce adds.

But the move is only expected to be temporary, with demand expected to return once the situation in Hong Kong returns to normal.

Cirium schedules data shows that Qantas operates flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Hong Kong, making it the second largest carrier after Cathay Pacific on flights to Australia.

Across its broader international operations, Qantas expects group capacity for the six months to the end of December to grow by around 1.5%. That mainly reflects the re-entry to service of some of Jetstar's Boeing 787-8s that had been in maintenance checks over the previous corresponding period.

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