Domestic aviation capacity across both Qantas and Jetstar will be at 104 per cent of pre-COVID levels by the end of next month.
Having announced around a million new airline seats will roll out across its international network over a year from late October – most of them permanent additions rather than seasonal fluctuations – Australia’s national carrier is expecting to return to its pre-COVID seat capacity by March next year.
In a statement on its expected earnings, Qantas has indicated that strong travel demand is continuing for the next financial year. Current revenues are also significantly up on pre-COVID, at 118 per cent for international flights and 123 per cent for domestic.
While airfare prices have moderated due to the return of capacity around the world, Qantas notes that fare yields are expected to remain “materially above pre-COVID levels” throughout the next financial year, particularly for international services.
“More parts of the aviation supply chain are returning to normal, which means we’re able to put some of the spare aircraft and crew we kept in reserve back in the schedule,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
“That’s combining with lower fuel prices to help put downward pressure on fares, which is good news for customers.”
However he noted capacity issues were still in play.
“The industry remains capacity constrained and the travel category remains strong, so there’s still a mismatch between supply and demand that’s likely to persist for some time, especially for international flying.”
The airline is expecting to have debts well below its target range, between $2.7 billion and $2.9 billion. It is also giving more than 20,000 of its staff bonuses of at least $5,000 and investing another $100 million into share buybacks.