Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has revealed more details of its planned Asian premium airline, which intends to surpass the Red Roo's own Airbus A380 flagship service as well as Singapore Airlines' upmarket A380s.
The Asian subsidiary plans to emulate British Airways' all-business trans-Atlantic service from London City to New York with lie-flat beds, but will also have "superior" economy seats".
According to CEO Alan Joyce, the new and as-yet-unnamed airline -- whic has been tagged "Qantasia" by many industry wags -- "will be better than anything else seen in Asia with lie-flat beds in the business cabin, superior to the award winning first class A380 beds", according to a report in Air Transport World.
Joyce also told Bloomberg that the new airline will have a "private jet feel" to it.
With superb fully-flat business class bed on Singapore Airlines, it will be interesting to see how Qantas' new airline matches up. (Here's Qantas' A380 business class Skybed for comparison.)
What's the difference between lie-flat and fully-flat beds? Check out our in-depth comparison for more information.
Joyce's comparison to the BA all-business A318, smaller than Qantas' planned A320, is of interest to business travellers for two reasons.
First, all-business class flights are specifically geared to their needs, and second, BA hands its frequent flyers extra miles for flying on its all-business services -- you get first class miles and points for a business class tickets.
Of course, what BA's London City-New York JFK all-business service doesn't have is an economy class section. With Alan Joyce saying that the new A320s will have economy seats superior to its A380 versions, it's worth having a look at another British Airways business-only trans-Atlantic operation, its subsidiary airline OpenSkies.
OpenSkies flies Boeing 757 planes -- slightly larger than Qantas' A320s -- from New York to Paris and Amsterdam, with 12 fully flat business class beds and between 60 and 72 recliner seats that are similar to domestic business class.
Prospective destinations for Qantas' new airline are limited by the A320's range from its base, which is likely to be in Singapore or possibly Kuala Lumpur. The smaller area in the map below shows the 5,900km range from Singapore of an A320, while the larger shaded circle adds the extra 950km that the re-engined A320neo with winglets provides.
In fact, this range could be extended slightly further, since official range estimates are based on a typical mix of business and economy classes and their luggage. If the new airline has a higher-than-normal proportion of business class passengers, its aircraft will have fewer passengers, less luggage and less overall weight.
Of particular note is that almost all of China -- with the exception of the far northwest -- is included in the regular A320 range. So is Japan, India, Southeast Asia and, once the extra-range A320neo arrives, the lucrative oil markets of the Middle East, which are underserved by Qantas at present.
In Australia, east coast cities aren't within range of Singapore on the regular A320, which may well be significant: with the extra focus on Singapore over Hong Kong and Bangkok flights, Qantas may want to avoid cannibalising its main westbound market.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.