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Qantas to cut all international flights at least until end May 2020

Domestic services within Australia will also be reduced by 60%.

Qantas today announced that it will suspend all international services by the end of March until until May.

The carrier has earlier said it will slash its international services by 90%, but since the Australian government has announced tighter measures including a ban on arrivals of all non-residents into Australia, Qantas has dropped the gauntlet to axe all international services.

Earlier this week, cuts to 90 per cent of international flying and about 60 per cent of domestic flying were announced by Qantas and Jetstar. With the Federal Government now recommending against all overseas travel from Australia, regularly scheduled international flights will continue until late March to assist with repatriation and will then be suspended until at least the end of May 2020. As the national carrier, Qantas is in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government about continuation of some strategic links.

Qantas media release

The airline will ground over 150 aircraft, including all of its Airbus A380, Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 747 jets. The bulk of Qantas’ fleet, the Boeing 737-800, will be expected to operate only domestic services, which will also see a 60% reduction in schedule.

Seems like suspension will commence 26 Mar

A look at Expertflyer revealed that almost all international services operated by Qantas have been zeroed out from 26 Mar 2020.

Singapore’s seven daily services to Australia and UK – except QF2 to Sydney – have been zeroed from 26 Mar 2020 (Thu).

Singapore-Sydney services
Singapore-Melbourne services
Singapore-Brisbane services

Singapore’s QF1 service to London will operate its last flight on 25 Mar at 11.55pm, arriving into London Heathrow at 7.15am the next day.

The return service QF2 will leave London on 26 Mar, arriving into Singapore on 27 Mar. QF2 will be the last Qantas flight out of Singapore on 27 Mar at 7.15pm, arriving into Sydney next morning at 6.10am.

In the meantime, travellers going to Perth will be accommodated to the smaller Boeing 737 until 25 Mar, instead of the usual A330.

Similarly, Qantas will also be cutting off services to other parts of Asia, including Denpasar-Bali, Bangkok, Manila, Hong Kong and Tokyo from 26 Mar 2020.

Some ad hoc flights may be operated

In its communication, Qantas has said that it may operate some ad hoc services to maintain strategic links or those requested by the government for repatriation purposes.

These will be announced where necessary at a later date, upon discussion with the Australian Government.

All Qantas international lounges to close temporarily

Following the suspension of all international services, Qantas will also shutter all international business class and first class lounges in Australia and globally.

In Singapore, that means that following the previous announcement of the first class lounge closure, it seems like the business class lounge will also be shut for a while.

Qantas first class lounge and business class lounge will be temporarily closed

Qantas to extend frequent flyer status for a year

Given the extended period of time of non-flying, Qantas will also be extending the validity of all Qantas Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers by a year.

Final thoughts

As the world grapples with Covid-19, these are indeed uncharted territory that many airlines are heading into. Qantas is not spared either.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has this to say:

“This is a very hard set of circumstances for our people, as it is for lots of parts of the community right now. No airline in the world is immune to this, with the world’s leading carriers making deep cuts to flying schedules and jobs. Our strong balance sheet means we’ve entered this crisis in better shape than most and we’re taking action to make sure we can ride this out.”

Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO

What should have been a celebratory year for Qantas as it turns 100 years old is now smeared with the effects of a deadly virus, which has reduced the airline to a domestic one for now.

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