Latest news update: Qantas international booking demand slows down after arrival of Omicron

Qantas has become the latest airline to experience booking delays, particularly on international routes, due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Australian carrier said it was holding on to “significant levels” of domestic bookings during the Christmas and summer periods in the Southern Hemisphere, boosted by the lifting of coronavirus restrictions that have dragged on in recent weeks. here nationwide has unleashed pent-up demand.

However, this upward momentum “slowed down towards the end of November due to uncertainty over the Omicron variant but has improved recently,” the airline said in a market update on Thursday, according to the company’s website. local time.

Qantas said it experienced “extremely strong” bookings for new routes to Delhi from Sydney and Melbourne. However, it warned that there had been a “significant drop” in booking momentum for foreign flights following the discovery of the worrying latest coronavirus variant.

“The news of the Omicron variant has a clear impact on people’s confidence to book international trips in particular, but we haven’t seen a large number of cancellations. Many customers intend to travel if the border and quarantine settings are in place and over the past few days we have seen enrollment improve,” said Alan Joyce, chief executive officer.

Qantas said it had had to adjust the timing of restarting some overseas routes, including Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Shanghai, to meet their extended border restrictions, and has paused restart flights to San Francisco from Sydney and Brisbane.

The airline says its international capacity expansion has been slowed by these and other factors and that capacity is now expected to be at the low end of the forecast for it at 40- 55% of pre-Covid levels by the end of next fiscal year in June.

Qantas also announced it has selected Airbus as its preferred aircraft to replace the Boeing 737s in its domestic fleet.

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