Qantas to launch two new carriers in major revamp

Qantas to launch two new carriers in major revamp

Qantas will launch two new carriers, cut up to 1,000 jobs and rework its joint-service agreement with British Airways on routes between the UK and Australia in a major shake up.

The Australian carrier's loss-making international operations will be restructured as it launches two new airlines in Asia, including a budget arm in Japan in conjunction with Japan Air Lines (JAL).

About 1,000 jobs at Qantas will be affected as a result of the changes.

Qantas will invest in a new premium carrier to be based in Asia with a new name, new aircraft and "a new look and feel". The location for the new airline will be announced at a later date.

It will launch Jetstar Japan with domestic operations by the end of 2012 and international services within a year, working with JAL and Mitsubishi.

Qantas will also acquire up to 110 Airbus A230s to accommodate the changes and carrier launches.

But delivery of a final six A380 superjumbos ordered by Qantas have been deferred by up to six years "significantly reducing the capital burden on the group," the airline said.

Qantas and BA aim to build up their hub at Singapore through their joint-service agreement first established in 1995. Qantas will continue A380 services from Melbourne and Sydney to London via Singapore. BA will upgrade its London-Singapore-Sydney service from a Boeing 777 to a larger Boeing 747.

The Australian flag carrier will fly Australia-Bangkok and Australia-Hong Kong, while BA will operate Bangkok-London and Hong Kong-London from early next year. BA will increase the frequency of London-Hong Kong services from 14 a week to 17 a week.

Qantas will no longer operate the Bangkok-London and Hong Kong-London sectors and BA will withdraw from the Bangkok-Sydney sector.

The Australian airline's chief executive Alan Joyce said: “The new approach is a smarter use of both airlines’ resources that will enhance our competitive position in Asia and in the Australia-Europe market.

He added: "Qantas International takes up enormous amounts of capital, and our cost base is around 20% higher than that of ur key competitors. To do nothing, or tinker around the edges, is not an option.

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