Qantas to slash international services

Following adjustments in its domestic services, Qantas has announced changes to its international services to manage the impact of soaring oil prices.

The airline’s chief executive officer Geoff Dixon said the cost of fuel had forced the company to restructure its business over the next two years.

“We have to look closely at each individual market, including the number of frequencies we operate and which of our flying businesses is better suited to serve those destinations,” Mr Dixon said.

The changes will most affect its services to Japan and South East Asia, with the withdrawal of its thrice-weekly Melbourne-Tokyo return services and a reduction in Sydney-Tokyo return services from this September, and the replacement of its 14 weekly Cairns-Tokyo services with a daily Jetstar non-stop service from this December.

To supplement the schedule changes, Jetstar would exit its Sydney-Kuala Lumpur operation to make an A330 aircraft available, and replace Qantas on the Perth-Denpasar and Perth-Jakarta routes.

Mr Dixon said the airline’s pilot base in Cairns would close, with around 40 pilots returning to Sydney or other bases, but maintain its existing cabin crew base in the location.

As a result of the international schedule changes, he said there would be a small number of job losses in Cairns and Japan, in addition to those flagged in last week’s announcement, and would also be managed initially on a voluntary basis.

Mr Dixon said : “Qantas had done everything possible to mitigate the effects of the schedule changes we have been forced to make.

“We will continue to work with individual markets and look for opportunities as conditions improve to address capacity issues and reinstate services where and when we can.”

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