SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Qantas is set to augment its international network with more flights, an increase in aircraft, and new routes in response to robust travel demand and the broader revival of the aviation industry.

Starting in late October 2023, the national airline plans to add roughly a million seats to its international network over the next 12 months relative to its current schedule. This will provide customers with more choices for favored destinations across Asia, the United States, and the Pacific.

This increase in capacity will be achievable through a combination of more Qantas aircraft returning to operation, new aircraft being added to the fleet, and a deal with oneworld partner Finnair to run two Airbus A330 aircraft on two Qantas routes.

These network adjustments will allow the Group's international capacity to grow to about 100 percent of pre-pandemic levels by March 2024, a significant increase from the 44 percent a year ago and the current 84 percent. The majority of the flights announced today will be handled by the 2,400 pilots and cabin crew members that Qantas has added to the Group since borders reopened. An additional 300 personnel will be required by the end of the year.

In the last six months, Qantas has reintegrated five international aircraft into its fleet - some from long-term storage and others that were on standby as operational reserves while the industry found its footing. A new Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrived in May, with two more set to be delivered the following month. The most recent Qantas A380, which had been stored in the desert, was reactivated in January, and another A380 will reenter service at the year's end after maintenance and cabin modifications.

Qantas' announcement comes as it prepares to reinstate flights to San Francisco next week and debut its first service from Sydney to New York via Auckland the following month. Seasonal services to Rome and flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong will also recommence in June.

A Finnair A330 aircraft will operate select Qantas flights between Sydney and Singapore from late October and all flights between Sydney and Bangkok from late March 2024. This will enable Qantas to free up its own aircraft and crew to enhance flying elsewhere. 

For the first two and a half years of this partnership, Finnair pilots and cabin crew will operate the flights, while customers will still receive Qantas’ inflight services, amenities, inflight entertainment, and baggage allowance. From late 2025, two Finnair A330s will be dry leased, operating for up to three years with Qantas pilots and cabin crew, creating new jobs and further promotional opportunities within Qantas.