Aviation

Qantas relaunches Perth-London route, ramps up trans-tasman flights, secures majority stake in TripADeal

The national carrier has been on the go with a series of business moves that has it flying out of the pandemic.

Qantas launched its first non-stop flight between Perth and London on Monday in over two years.

Flight QF9 launched yesterday at 8:07 pm and will land at London Heathrow later today.

This comes a few weeks after the WA government confirmed the route will resume this month, three weeks ahead of schedule. The route was originally scheduled to resume on 19 June.

The route was paused during the pandemic, leading Qantas to move its route to the UK from Darwin due to Western Australia’s “conservative border policies,” according to Australian Aviation.

Alongside relaunching the Perth-London route, Qantas has ramped up its trans-Tasman flights in time for ski season.

Sydney to Queenstown and Wellington, Melbourne to Christchurch and Wellington launched yesterday and Brisbane to Christchurch restarted today.

All Qantas flights on the four routes today are full, reflecting the strong demand from Australians to rediscover New Zealand for their winter holidays.

The airline will operate up to 20 weekly services to Queenstown from Australia. Capacity on the route is expected to reach 110 per cent of pre-COVID levels by July, with Australian travellers eager to hit the famous South Island slopes, providing a boost for the New Zealand tourism industry.

“The ramp up of flights between Australia and New Zealand just in time for ski season is a shot in the arm for tourism off the back of a tough few years for local operators and Queenstown is making a particularly strong comeback,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

Qantas services from Melbourne and Brisbane to Queenstown recommence on 18 June.

The addition of these flights sees Qantas return to its full pre-COVID trans-Tasman network.

Services to New Zealand are operated by a mix of Boeing 737-800 and wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft, which offer business suites with lay flatbeds.

Qantas is seeing strong demand in both directions across the Tasman, with New Zealanders travelling across Qantas’ extensive domestic and international network, including to and from London, Singapore and Bali.

On top of this the flying kangaroo has expanded its reach, purchasing a 51 per cent sharehold in the Australian-made travel business, TripADeal.

The deal means that Qantas Frequent Flyers can now use their points on a huge range of holiday packages.

The stake allows Qantas Loyalty to immediately expand its exposure to the estimated $13 billion online packaged holiday booking market, which is experiencing significant growth as leisure demand booms and the shift to e-commerce continues.

Over the past decade, TripADeal has built thousands of direct supplier relationships with hotels, tour operators and other vendors that allow it to offer well-priced holiday packages both domestically and overseas. They also have their own tour guides based in over 30 countries.

TripADeal packages range from African safaris, Japanese ski trips and exploring Antarctica, to South Australian wine tasting tours and Bali beach holidays.

“This is a great opportunity at the perfect time,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.

“Coming out of the pandemic, people want a holiday experience that is special but also tried and tested, and there is a huge shift to booking online.

“That’s exactly what TripADeal does. It’s an Aussie success story built on delivering ready-made holidays at very sharp prices, and their level of repeat customers shows how well they do it.”

All of these ready-made holidays can now be booked using Qantas Points, regardless of which airline is part of the package. Frequent Flyers will also earn three points for every $1 they spend with TripADeal and can also use ‘points plus pay’ to make their holiday happen sooner.

Pre-COVID, TripADeal had an annual growth rate of more than 40 per cent and in the 12 months prior to the pandemic, bookings were in excess of $200 million.  Monthly bookings are now significantly higher.



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