Qantas Cancels direct TSV-SYD flights

Discussion in 'Qantas Frequent Flyer Program' started by jaffa, Sep 22, 2006.

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  1. jaffa

    jaffa Member

    Firstly,
    Hello everyone, l have been a lurker and odd poster over at FT for quite a few years and have finally found my way over here to the sunny side of the world. I am not a huge poster but am a pretty regular browser and have picked up much from the info thats posted on the boards. Much of which has helped me gain my status and points balance.

    I have been a QF devotee since its TAA days and was one of 100 local Townsville business people offered a comp membership when the loyalty saga kicked off with the opening of our original lounge here many moons ago. Have been a member ever since.

    But like others and it pains me say my loyalty factor is begining to wane.

    It was announced last week that qantas is ceasing its direct TVL-SYD-TVL flights in exchange for Deathstar, which now leaves only 34 weekly QF metal jet services to BNE and the sardine can to cairns and other state regions.

    So l am feeling a little squeezed out and hemmed in.

    Unlike fellow QFF big city members, when you are based in a region like Townsville for as long as l have been you build up a great relationship and repore with your local QF based people. From the counter staff to the QC to the local QF city office, even the ground staff and the airport security people, first names are common and catching up on some chat or bumping into one another at the supermarket is all to common.

    The strength of the relationship is so strong that l look forward to my invitation to the local QF staff knee's up every chrissy.
    So now with BNE my only real service jet option with BC, my options become so much more limited and more costly.

    Which leads me to my question.
    In the opinion of the members here, is QF likely to retain its own metal service to BNE or will it all go the way of deathstar? and if it does what is likley to happen to the QG and WP's like myself that are based in the regions.
    I would assume here that the same situation is being played out in regions right across the country.

    I have heard all the arguments about profitable business opperations but in most of the flights l regularly take the loads are always very good with both BC & Econ often full. My friends on the ground here with QF nervously remain somewhat confident but they have already been downsized twice in the past 2 years and are a little concerned about what lies ahead.

    Do l as WP therefore become irrelevant to QF a sacrifice worth making or do they have a plan up their sleeve useing the old bait and switch.

    The problem l am having is that l actually like Qantas, l enjoy flying with them wether or not l am a WP, thats just an extra perk. I would actually miss the experience if they did turn Townsville orange.

    Cheers,
    and thanks for having me onboard..
     

  2. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Where's my crystal ball when I need it?

    I think ultimately many airports will be served only by Jetstar with QF tending to the city flyer routes. :(
     
  3. bravoecho1

    bravoecho1 Member

    Sep 10, 2004
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    Jaffa,

    I do sympathise with you. Now that I am based on the Gold Coast, and because of QF's poor schedule, they are forcing me to use DJ (I will never fly DeathStar). I only just scrapped into requalifying for SG this year.

    You would think a city with a population of about 400,000 would at least receive 4-5 services a day not to mention the number of tourists who fly in. I know of a lot of professionals and business owners here who now fly DJ because of this fact and if they are not careful I could see this happening with with all regional town/cities.

    In the past to get a better selection of services I used to drive to BNE however with work time schedules becoming tighter and tighter, two things are making this unfeasible - the M1 and the Gateway Bridge.
     
  4. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    Welcome to AFF, jaffa.

    My impression, from reading numerous newspaper reports and the recent appearance of Alan Joyce (Jetstar CEO) on ABC Lateline, is that it is highly probable TSV will be served only by Jetstar at some point in the not-too-distant future.

    My reasons?
    1. QF keep making the point that JQ's cost base is massively lower than QF's.
    2. QF regard TSV as a tourist destination, which means lower fares, lower margins.

    I agree with Kiwi Flyer - QF are likely to focus on the big CityFlyer routes in the future, because they can fly larger aircraft and carry bigger numbers of premium paying pax.

    IMO this leaves a big opportunity for Virgin Blue. Their cost base is much lower than QF so they can continue to operate into cities the size of TSV. My hope is that they will introduce their own version of a business class to cater for pax like you and me. All I ask for is 2+2 seating and maybe complimentary food/drink from the existing menu. It doesn't need to be any fancier than that. A "new world" business class!

    Even on my regular SYD-MEL route I would definitely pay extra for that. And given that most flights I'm on have maybe half a dozen empty seats, I reckon they could afford to reduce the seating capacity a little at the front to provide this and earn some extra $ from people like us. Given that QF's J cabin is often half full of staff deadheading, DJ should be able to make this a goer.
     
  5. maninblack

    maninblack Established Member

    Aug 14, 2006
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    All regionals will be dropped by QF except Cairns which is a premium (high net worth traveler) route. If you have no choice you will take the flight that exists. QF's domestic biz cabin is barely adequate as it is and I think Virgin will introduce one and funnily enough I reckon eventually JQ will do a Starclass domestic too. I know a guy who took his family to Hayman every year and has now dumped it because of no biz class, he tells me Hayman is furious because he isn't the only one.

    As for the deadheaders, you see them all the time, had two Aust Airlines flight attendants in front of me to CNS earlier this year who sat there like lord and lady muck. A friend also tried to get a ff upgrade on this route last year and couldn't, only to see 3 AO flight attendants hobnobbing it in J when he got on the plane.

    I wonder if Virgin introduced a really good seat, like better pitch and recline than the QF product, in seat power and live TV but still standard service whether they wouldn't give QF a mighty fright.
     
  6. Altair

    Altair Active Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    820
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    Wellington
    DJ should. They are agressively going for the business passengers and appear to be making headway in QF market share. Look at their revamped lounges a form of FFP, were they not looking at providing extra legroom but same seats to attract more businesses.
    Ozjet showed that there is not enough business traffic for an all J class service, OK they had lots of other limitations (no FFP, lounges, limited services and frequencies, connections) but there was just not enough J pax to warrant what they were trying to do.
    I have flown DJ (2002) and JQ (2006) and I did not like both services, I probably liked JQ better, row 1 seats and FF points but I had to fly JetFlex otherwise I would not have paid the extra $. If there is a QF service that is similarly priced I would take it....until the service keeps getting "enhanced" then it will be a free-for-all.
     
  7. turtlemichael

    turtlemichael Established Member

    May 24, 2006
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    I'm not so sure that CNS will survive. I think all regional city routes will eventually go to the dark side. TSV compared to CNS has a higher population base, more industry and a bigger university. It is the northern government centre, has the army, and is a bigger base for the mining industry. CNS has two relatively up market tourist centres (Palm Cove and Port Douglas) but these are small compared to the Sunshine Coast and the up market elements of the Gold Coast. My gut feel is that CNS is on the list too but the powers haven't got to it yet.

    I too have had lots of flights where the busy business class section has looked full but has been composed almost entirely of dead heading AO crew. As the northern AO base this was very significant. I guess the same still applies to the JQ staff based here.

    I agree with Yada Yada that this opens a huge opportunity for DJ to get in with a premium economy class and I think on both these large regional and capital city routes
     
  8. maninblack

    maninblack Established Member

    Aug 14, 2006
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    #8 maninblack, Sep 23, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
    Huge difference is that CNS is an international airport, so the QF presence remains far more important, but yes it is possible it may go too. QF still flies 4 flights per day from BNE, 3 from SYD and 1 from MEL, JQ does not have the capacity to cover this. One of the SYD flights is an A330 so they do over 600 seats a day SYD-CNS which is far more than into TSV which I think was one 737-400 flight per day.

    You will notice that Qantas has kept a SYD-DRW service, specially for all of those politicians and senior public servants who will crack it if they have to fly in Y. Seriously though, I think it is Darwins international tourist status that will keep the QF brand there, TSV whilst far bigger does not have that profile.
     
  9. turtlemichael

    turtlemichael Established Member

    May 24, 2006
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    I think one can over estimate the importance of having an international airport in the context of this discussion, particularly a small one like CNS.

    The relationship between domestic and international travel in CNS, particularly after the demise of AO, is not strong. There are few D/I transits so one could be entirely JQ and the other QF without much of an issue if that's what Qantas wanted.

    I don't think the international terminal will go, at least in the foreseeable future. However, it just won't have many, if any, QF flights. As to QF Domestic, I think it is an issue of timing. When JQ has the capacity, QF will vacate.

    The reaction of local tourist authorities to the increasing JQ flight numbers, both domestically and now internationally, is interesting. It's been very positive because there has been an increase in capacity. They are not worried that they won't be flying in on QF, just happy that there is the prospect of more bums in beds.
     
  10. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    I see lots of people commenting here about "deadheading AO crew", and the context of those comments seems to be one of complaining that these crew members are occupying business class seats.

    Now I don't know the agreement struck between QF/AO and the unions, but in many such agreements it is stipulated that crew who are about to commence work on a long-haul flight must travel to the port where they will commence their operational shift in business class. This is so they are refreshed and ready to commence a work shift that is likely to exceed 8 hours.

    Now if the AO union agreement is for such "deadheading" to be accommodated in business class, then I don't see any grounds for complaint that a deadheading AO crew member got the business class seat instead of a QF FF member seeking an ODU. Would it be better to leave the AO crew sitting in BNE waiting for the next flight with unwanted J seats while the AO flights in CNS sits on the tarmac awaiting their crew?

    If the AO crew workplace agreement does include J travel as a requirement for repositioning crew, then don't blame QF for missing out on the ODU. Its these type of union demands that is driving QF to expand JQ as they had the chance to start again with the workplace agreement negotiations.

    Unless we know the facts of the workplace entitlements for AO crew we are not in a position to imply they are being treated to perks at the expense of loyal FF members.
     
  11. jakeseven7

    jakeseven7 Active Member

    Sep 9, 2005
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    Couldn't agree more, our company deals with one common union with QF and it continually amazes me how short-sighted and reactionary the mgt of the unions are. The union leaders are doing more harm than good in many cases for the workers in the medium-long term in our company which I won't go into, but I see the same kind of thing happening at QF.

    Don't they realise that as long as they continue to be inflexible, QF will respond by setting up Jetconnects, Australian Airlines, Jetstars and tendering out to NJS?! Setting up whole new operating entitys to avoid using the current unionised staff - now thats extreme. What is better - no job? or a job that has less benefits (though still probably more than the poor old monkeys working at DJ!)
     
  12. turtlemichael

    turtlemichael Established Member

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    Point taken NM but my comment on deadheading AO Crew was entirely directed to saying that one could easily get the impression that there was a lot of business class demand into CNS if the cabin looks full. However, if it largely AO crew than that is a different matter. I have been on flights where 6 or 8 out of 12 J seats have been AO crew returning to base. I'm not commenting on its merits as an employment policy.
     
  13. NM

    NM
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    And I wonder how such crews will travel if JQ and DJ are the only airlines operating the route they need to travel?
     
  14. turtlemichael

    turtlemichael Established Member

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    Up the back with the rest of us plebs of course! ;) But you have to expect the numbers of ex AO staff based here to diminish anyway if JQi flights are operated out of SIN :(
     
  15. maninblack

    maninblack Established Member

    Aug 14, 2006
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    I largely agree. It won't nec save CNS as a QF destination, but it is largely about profile and the premium and international traveler, dollars of course will end up outweighing profile though.

    Whilst tourist authorities are happy about JQ, they, and business owners are not happy about it meaning an end to QF, especially at the high end of the market which is big time around CNS area. Believe me I know as I have significant involvement in this area.
     
  16. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    I don't know about AO cabin crew, but it is definitely written into the QF cabin crew award that they fly in J when travelling as pax to begin a longhaul shift. It annoys me that loyal QF pax have no chance of an upgrade on these flights.

    But I don't blame the crews for this. From the FA's perspective, it is a reasonable condition that they have fought for, and that QF agreed to, and I fully understand the unions being "inflexible" in not wanting to let it go. I'd be resistant if my employer expected me to fly fly economy on longhaul international flights.

    I can't understand why QF does not base crews where they are needed. When I flew SYD-MEL-SIN earlier this year, the entire QF9 crew clocked on in SYD! This seems crazy to me. Surely they have crews in MEL who can work QF9/10?

    Nonetheless, I feel a bit sorry for the poor chimps working at QF. Can't be a happy place, constantly staring down the barrel at reduced opportunities as services are handed over to JQ, reduced pay, reduced conditions, working on old aircraft and apologising to cranky pax who expected the IFE to work, etc. :rolleyes:
     
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