Australia's Qantas Airways is boosting services to the USA from the end of this month amid signs of a pick-up in demand.

The oneworld alliance carrier says it will increase US services to 28 per week from the current 25 from 30 June. From early August it will further increase services, to 30 per week.

John Borghetti, executive general manager sales and marketing, says the decision to increase US services "reflected some improvement in demand for international air travel, following the effects of the war in Iraq and SARS".

A spokeswoman says from Sydney that the initial three additional weekly services will all operate on Brisbane-Auckland-Los Angeles routings. The two additional weekly services from early August will operate on Sydney-Auckland-Los Angeles routings.


In addition, she says, from 22 June the carrier will drop the Auckland leg from three of its seven weekly services between Melbourne and Los Angeles. Four weekly flights already operate non-stop between Melbourne and Los Angeles, and the change will give it seven non-stop services per week, all operated with Boeing 747-400ERs.

Qantas said in March that it would cut up to 20% of its international flying between 1 April and the middle of July due to a drop in bookings caused by the war in Iraq and the SARS outbreak in some of its key markets.

It currently serves Los Angeles and New York in the USA. It planned to launch services to Chicago on 31 March but deferred those plans.

Qantas says it is separately looking to increase capacity between the Australian state of Queensland and New Zealand. In October and November it will also operate an additional 14 Boeing 747 services from Johannesburg in South Africa to meet the anticipated increase in demand around the time of the Rugby World Cup.

Source: Flight Daily News