13/06/2014 - 14:22

Qantas drops Perth-Jo’burg connection

13/06/2014 - 14:22

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Qantas has cancelled its direct Perth-to-Johannesburg service after agreeing with carrier South African Airways to terminate its code share agreement.

Qantas drops Perth-Jo’burg connection

Qantas has cancelled its direct Perth-to-Johannesburg service after agreeing with carrier South African Airways to terminate its code share agreement.

It follows the Australian airline’s decision in May to cancel its Perth-to-Singapore services as part of $2 billion in cost-cutting measures. This is part of a longer running trend to withdraw the Qantas brand from international markets, which accelerated in the last financial year following the signing of a comprehensive alliance announced between Qantas Airways and Emirates. During 2012-13, Qantas withdrew its mainline Perth-to-Hong Kong services and reduced capacity on the Perth-to-Singapore route, while Emirates increased its seat capacity through Dubai.

South African Airways will continue to operate the Perth-to-Johannesburg route, which serviced nearly 130,000 passengers last year. It also code shares with Air New Zealand on this route.

According to the 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics census, there were more than 35,000 people of South African birth in Western Australia representing 1.6 per cent of the state's population, the third highest country of origin for immigrants after England (8.6 per cent) and New Zealand (3.2 per cent). 

A Qantas spokesman said the agreement was wound-up because regulators indicated an extension to the code share beyond December 2014 was unlikely.

“Winding it up earlier means we can create new options for customers traveling between Perth and Johannesburg,” the spokesman said.

Qantas customers in Perth now have a few, albeit more circuitous, options available to them for travel to South Africa.

They could take a code share Emirates-operated service from Perth to Dubai, and then catch a connecting flight to Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town.

Another option is for Qantas customers to fly from Perth to Sydney and take a Qantas-operated service to Johannesburg.

In a statement in February, Qantas said customers with existing bookings would be re-accommodated, but many customers trying to book this month were unaware of the change.

According to 2013 data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Qantas operated just 5.1 per cent of total seats on international flights from Perth.

Jetstar and Jetstar Asia combined operated 9.9 per cent of total seats.

Singapore Airlines, which operates flights from Perth to Singapore, held a 14.1 per cent share while Emirates, which flies from Perth to Dubai, held a 13.2 per cent share.

Virgin Australia, which flies from Perth to Denpasar and Phuket, operated 4.7 per cent of total seats on international flights.

In all, 18 international airlines currently offer services to 16 destinations from Perth Airport; from next month, Etihad will introduce a daily Perth-to-Abu Dhabi service.

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