Qantas chairman Richard Goyder has told shareholders the airline is keeping a “close eye” on potential travel bubbles.
At the annual Qantas general meeting, Goyder said the lifting of restrictions with New Zealand was encouraging, as was the potential for travel bubbles with parts of Asia.
“Both Qantas and Jetstar are keeping a close eye on new markets that might open up as a result of these bubbles – including places that weren’t part of our pre-Covid network,” Goyder said.
“By early next year, we may find that Korea, Taiwan and various islands in the Pacific are top Qantas destinations while we wait for our core international markets like the US and UK to re-open.”
$100 million hit to earnings
Joyce revealed the company took a $100 million hit to its first quarter earnings after domestic border closures in July, but expects the pain to be temporary.
The CEO said there were “plenty of positive signs” in regards to borders, and expects Group Domestic capacity to reach up to 50 per cent by Christmas.
“We know that latent travel demand is strong,” he said.
“We saw that with our ‘scenic flight’ earlier this month, which sold out in 10 minutes. And we saw it when South Australia opened to New South Wales, with 20,000 seats selling across Qantas and Jetstar in just 36 hours.”
Also read: Qantas profit plunges 91% as 6,000 jobs go
Qantas will be ‘structurally different’
Chief executive Alan Joyce also addressed shareholders, saying Qantas would be “structurally different” to what it was pre-Covid.
“We know that our revenue will be significantly lower for some time - especially with the continued grounding of most international operations,” Joyce said.
Joyce said the company identified $15 billion in cost savings across the next three years, mostly through reduced flying activity, but also through reducing its property footprint and ending all sponsorship spending.
“We can’t justify that while the majority of our people are stood down,” he said.
ACCC receives 10,000 travel complaints
Australia’s consumer watchdog has revealed it’s received more than 10,000 complaints in regards to travel bookings during the pandemic, many of which were due to partial refunds.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it was not going to take its usual “enforcement” approach, but rather work with travel agents to ensure Aussies are getting their money back.
However, ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said it was not the ACCC’s policy that consumers receive a full refund.
"Terms and conditions often do allow for withholding of exactly the sort of deduction or commission or labour cost as long as it is reasonable and appropriate,” she said.
"We are monitoring all of those very carefully and the authorisations will cease at appropriate times."
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