Qantas wants to woo affluent Chinese travellers as part of its company restructuring next month.
Airline chief Alan Joyce told the Aviation Outlook Conference in Sydney that "we have enormous opportunity to leverage Qantas excellence in brand management, aviation safety and other skills."
"Research on affluent Chinese travellers, for example, shows they are strongly influenced by prestige brands and considerations of safety."
But he also warned that the changes coming next month required "tough" decisions, as Qantas competed with airlines that had cost-bases up to 25% lower.
He also said part of the effort to lower costs and raise profitability for Qantas would be taking advantage of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's recent decision to allow qualified staff other than engineers to service planes.
Currently, Qantas engineers are required to sign off every plane as being safe to fly before it takes off, which Qantas says is unsustainably expensive.
Australia might have to make concessions to Singapore
If Qantas wants to base its new premium Asian airline out of Singapore, the Australian government might have to trade horses with the Singapore government, the boss of AirAsiaX, Azran Osman-Rani has warned.
It is likely that the Australian government would have to capitulate on its refusal to let Singapore Airlines fly the lucrative Australia-US route before the Singapore government would allow Qantas to set up shop there.
If the Australian flag carrier is indeed aiming to land its new operations in Singapore, it is keeping its firm intentions quiet -- it has not yet applied for an air operator's certificate there.
Industrial action to start from Friday
Qantas pilots have warned that they will start soft industrial action from Friday, as part of the on-again, off-again pay and conditions dispute with the airline.
They said they did not plan to disrupt flight schedules, but instead would make announcements over aircraft P.A. systems to make passengers aware of the dispute between staff and airline management.