Qantas is set to hike its own and Jetstar's ticket prices, slash international and trans-Tasman services, and cut back its fleet.
The airline is struggling to stay in the black after its flight QF32's Airbus A380 engine explosion, the Brisbane and Queensland floods, Cyclones Yasi and Carlos, the Christchurch earthquake and Japanese earthquake and tsunami disasters.
A compounding problem is the high price of fuel, which has been exacerbated by political unrest in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and other Middle Eastern oil-producing nations.
With further announcements of cuts, fare hikes and other changes likely, the highlight impacts for business travellers and frequent flyers will include:
- Qantas has signalled further price hikes after multiple fare and fuel surcharge increases have already hit Qantas flights in February and March, and Jetstar has hiked fares, baggage charge and other "ancillary revenue".
- Qantas will cease all services from Perth to Tokyo's Narita Airport from 8 May.
- Flights from Sydney to Narita will be significantly scaled down, with smaller Airbus A330 planes with a significantly reduced number of business class seats replacing the current Boeing 747 aircraft used on the route.
- As many as four Jetstar return services to and from Japan will be cut between 1 April and the end of August this year.
- Jetstar will also cut a Melbourne to Christchurch flight, and will also slash three daily domestic New Zealand flights into Christchurch Airport, from April.
- Qantas will also retire two of its older and less efficient Boeing 767 aircraft, which the airline had already hoped to replace with the much-delayed Boeing 787 planes it has on order.
"There has never been a time when the world faced so many natural disasters, all of which have come at a significant financial cost to the Qantas Group," said CEO Alan Joyce today, painting a dark picture for the future of the company -- and particularly for its future profits.