Qantas ‘firmly back’ to pre-Covid performance in October

Qantas was “firmly back” to pre-Covid levels of service in October following improvements in the previous two months.

The disclosure came at the Australian airline’s annual meeting but was tempered by a warning from chief executive Alan Joyce that the industry as a whole is far from ‘post-Covid’. 

He warned: “There are side effects that still impact us daily. 

“One element is the supply chain. A spare part that would usually take 12 hours to arrive can now take a week.

“We recently had a major delay in sourcing an avionics part because one of the suppliers had, during the pandemic, switched from aviation to automotive, because it was booming.

“The industry is still discovering broken links in the supply chain that are now three or four levels deep, and will take time to fix.”

Joyce also revealed that the airline is also prepared for a potential spike in sick leave if there is another wave of Covid, it saw last [southern hemisphere] summer.

“That’s why we’re investing more than A$200 million this financial year on operational resilience,” he added. “We’re rostering more crew so we can cope better with sick leave.

“And we’ll have up to 20 aircraft on the ground over the summer peak to help minimise delays that we’re seeing through supply chain issues.

“We see this as a temporary – but critical – investment until things normalise.

“When it does, we’ll look to put that capacity back in, and that will take us back to our natural domestic market share position of around 70%, up from the high 60s currently.”

Joyce reflected on plans to start growing again with new routes, aircraft aircraft and “new opportunities”.

He said: “Surviving Covid meant we had to sell land, mortgage aircraft and raise equity. It also meant restructuring our business so that we could recover quickly.

“That restructuring is a key driver of the turnaround we’re now seeing. And, in the longer term, it will be crucial in a domestic market that has become more competitive.

“Another key factor in the recovery is the rebound in travel demand – both domestically and internationally.

“Revenue from leisure bookings is more than 130% of pre-Covid. For business travel, it’s over 100%.

“The third factor in our accelerated recovery has been an increase in market share, domestically and particularly in corporate, SME and international.”

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