Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce admits London route is “a challenge”


Qantas operates daily services from Melbourne and Sydney to London via Dubai with Airbus A380s. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says a nonstop service between Perth and London would lead to the airline having an improved operation into the UK capital.

Joyce was asked at the company’s annual general meeting in Sydney on Friday if the airline’s two London routes were profitable.

In response, Joyce said the airline did not “give details on our route network”.

“But I have to say, London is a challenge because you have over 30 carriers operating on that market and we have extremely low airfares,” Joyce said.

“That’s one of the reasons we are considering an operation like Perth-London.

“If we can make it work out of Perth that is a way of actually having a very good operation we believe into London.”

Qantas flies daily from Melbourne and Sydney to London via Dubai with Airbus A380s. It is the airline’s only online destination in Europe, with the rest of the continent served via codeshares on its alliance partner Emirates through Dubai. Qantas also had a codeshare in place with fellow oneworld member Finnair for Helsinki, which Emirates does not serve.

Joyce said the company was currently evaluating new routes and destinations with the upcoming arrival of the Boeing 787-9 into the fleet, given the aircraft’s operating economics and long-range capability, as well as the still-in-development ultra long-haul Boeing 777-8X.

“In the future aircraft like the 777-8X, which may allow us to fly from Sydney and Melbourne directly into Europe in both directions, could change the face of Qantas’s route network,” Joyce said.

“They are things that we continuously look at and monitor to make sure the economics works for us.”

In the October edition of Australian Aviation, Joyce said the support of local airports, particularly with suitable infrastructure to handle the connecting traffic needed to feed such ultra long-haul routes, could not be underestimated.

“The viability of the routes are very much dependent on some of the airport infrastructure issues,” Joyce told Australian Aviation in an interview.

“That makes all the difference in the business case.

“Take Perth as an example. If international was still on the other side of the field and all of our domestic flights that are creating the hub to connect are on the domestic side of the field, that doesn’t work.

“If you are travelling from Adelaide to Perth to London or Adelaide to Singapore to London, the minimum connection times determine which routing you take and if Perth is not attractive it kills it.

“So unless you fix that infrastructure problem there is no way that you can make those long-haul flights work.”

Meanwhile, Joyce said in response to separate question the company had not made any decisions on the proposed Badgerys Creek airport in Sydney’s west and was not “spending any capital” in relation to the airport.

(Read more about Qantas in the October edition of Australian Aviation, currently on sale.)


Australian Aviation

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