Qantas reportedly plans to reduce First Class seating, as part of its AUD400 million long-haul fleet reconfiguration programme (Australian Financial Review, 01-Feb-2010). Under the programme, the carrier will operate 12 A380 aircraft with First class seats (eight will have no First Class) and remove the cabin on its B747-400s. First Class will reportedly only be available on Sydney-Los Angeles or Sydney-London via Singapore routes in future. Qantas stated it is currently in talks with manufacturers, but it is too early to provide details of the alterations. Full details are to be announced in 1Q2010. [more - Perspective]
Qantas to remove two-thirds of its First class seating on long-haul fleet
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After complaints about airlines amassing power through joint ventures to the detriment of consumers, the US DOT appears to be exerting greater and more conservative scrutiny on partnerships. DOT has rejected a proposed JV between American Airlines and Qantas. After DOT declined their request for a much longer response time American and Qantas withdrew their application, submitted in Jun-2015.
At a top level the JV does seem to raise concern: combined, Qantas and American would hold 59% of the US-Australia market. Yet almost all of that – 53% – is from Qantas; American adds only 6ppt.
DOT rejects the notion that such larger market share can possibly be in the interest of consumers. Yet it appears to overlook the benefit American might bring in exchange for incremental market share gains. Nor is it clear if this combination is more anti-competitive than some JVs where two airlines, each with a small- or medium-sized position, combine and become multiples larger. Qantas' 53% market share was earned through quality and smart loyalty programme development while competitors lagged.
Qantas will continue growth in North America, its most successful international market, but American Airlines' growth is uncertain and it may re-evaluate a supposedly planned Los Angeles-Melbourne 787 service.
Airbnb becomes a mainstream corporate option as Qantas adds it to its FFP partners
On 4-Oct-2016, Qantas announced it had concluded a partnership with Airbnb, the world leader in the sharing economy's accommodation revolution. According to Qantas this represents "the first time Airbnb has worked with an airline in this way to reward Frequent Flyer members when booking accommodation through Qantas’ website – and is the next step in Qantas’ partnerships with innovative digital and technology businesses".
The partnership, along with deals with the major global TMCs and growing adoption among corporate travellers, has moved Airbnb from the realm of couch-surfing to an accepted corporate travel option, forcing travel managers to adapt or risk alienating their staff.