Qantas goes ahead with discount airline

Qantas's CEO Geoff Dixon announced yesterday that the carrier will launch a new lost-cost international airline, Australian Airlines, in October.

It will be based in Cairns and initially fly on routes into Asia that Qantas no longer flies or have not been profitable. It will be wholly owned by Qantas but run as an independent entity. Its first CEO will be Denis Adams.

The airline is being pitched as a “leisure airline”, not a discounter. It will be a one-model, one-class fleet with more seats, streamlined work practices, fewer executives, lower overheads and simplified administration costs, says Mr Adams. The first flight is scheduled for October 27th and bookings open in May. Initial flights will be from Cairns to Osaka, Fukuoka, Singapore, Taipei, Hong Kong and Nagoya.

Mr Adams said that the airline will establish a second Australian base next year, possibly in Melbourne, with flights going to Phuket and Kuala Lumpur.