The Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) share price is in the air today after the airline reported its earnings for financial year 2021 and announced its plans to restart international flights.
While Qantas’ dented bottom line hasn’t put the market off, the airline’s comprehensive plan to get Australians back overseas has likely left many wanderlusting Aussies feeling hopeful.
Right now, the Qantas share price is $5.03, 3.39% higher than its previous close. Today’s boost brings its gains for the week so far to an impressive 17.6%.
So, let’s take a look at Australia’s largest airline’s path forward.
Qantas share price up amid international travel hopes
The Qantas share price is taking off today after it outlined its plan to take off internationally, starting in December.
Qantas’ plan rests on the National Cabinet’s plan to transition out of COVID-19 which states Australia’s international borders will be cracked open when 80% of eligible Australians are inoculated against COVID-19.
Qantas believes the 80% target will be reached in December. And so, the airline hopes to be flying to other nations with similarly high rates of vaccination before the end of 2021.
Countries Australians could soon travel to include Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada.
Singapore and Japan are among the nations Qantas hopes will be on its departure board in December.
Qantas also expects the trans-Tasman bubble to be reopened by December and is selling tickets for flights to New Zealand from then.
Qantas also expects to fly Boeing 787s, Airbus A330s, 737s, and A320s to Fiji before the year ends.
The airline is planning to restart flights to Hong Kong in February.
The United Kingdom is on top of Qantas’ bucket list.
Qantas’ expects its non-stop flights to London to be back in the air as soon as possible. However, the airline is wary Western Australia might not relax its border restrictions which may see Qantas taking off and landing the 17-hour flight in Darwin.
Additionally, 5 A380s will be returning to Australia ahead of schedule. Some of these will be operating flights between Sydney and London (via Singapore) from November 2022.
The United States and Canada might also see Australians arriving on Qantas flights from December.
Additionally, some of the returning A380s will begin flying between Sydney and Los Angeles from July 2022.
Qantas will also use its range of A330-200 aircraft to fly from Brisbane to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
And then what?
Qantas expects the rest of Qantas’ and Jetstar’s international network to open up from April 2022 at the earliest, with capacity increasing gradually from then.
The airline’s next stops might include Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg.
That news has likely got many travel bugs excited. It also goes without saying, opening its international network once more will likely do great things for the Qantas share price.
Qantas will return 10 A380s with upgraded interiors to service by early 2024. Though, the exact timing will depend on how quickly the market recovers.
Additionally, Qantas will receive 3 new Boeing 787-9s in financial year 2023 after it retires 2 A380s.
Jetstar will also get its first 3 Airbus A321neo LR aircraft from early financial year 2023. The new planes will allow it to redeploy some of its existing 787s to other markets.
Commentary from management
Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce commented on the plan that might be driving the Qantas share price today. He said:
I know the prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off – especially with New South Wales and Victoria in lockdown. Some people might say we’re still being too optimistic.
But the current pace of the vaccine rollout means all Australian states are on track to reach the 80% target by December – which is the trigger for starting to carefully open to some parts of the world.
And if the emotional response to our recent vaccine ad is any indication, the idea of planning a trip might encourage even more people to get the jab…
We can adjust our plans if the circumstances change, which we’ve already had to do several times during this pandemic.