Why Qantas increased its flights to Hong Kong and Manila
On top of the current daily flights to Hong Kong from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Qantas will add another four flights from Sydney to Hong Kong each week. There could also potentially become daily if the demand is strong enough.
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The decision comes after Hong Kong regulators rejected attempts to launch Jetstar Hong Kong back in June, which would have provided more connecting options for Qantas passengers beyond Hong Kong.
“Customers traveling from Sydney will have the choice of double daily flights to Hong Kong on peak days of the week for business travel and we'll look at expanding beyond that if the opportunity is available," said Qantas International chief executive Gareth Evans.
Qantas also received extra incentive after rival Virgin Atlantic put an end to its Sydney to Hong Kong route last year, mostly due to increasing costs and a challenging economic environment.
Chinese tourism in Australia has gone up as the Aussie dollar has gone down, as it has seen a 22 per cent increase compared to last year. Overall, 2015 has been the best tourism year for Australia since hosting the Olympics back in 2000.
International tourists have spent $91 million in Australia this year alone, with Chinese visitors spending $19 million of it.
The four new Sydney-Hong Kong services will feature lie-flat seats in both the business and economy seats, which will be the first time customers travelling on this route will experience the airline’s latest international product.
The new services have been made possible by Qantas’ continued focus on more efficient use of aircraft across its fleet and follows an additional 140 international services recently announced to operate to Singapore, Jakarta and New Zealand over the upcoming summer holiday season.
Qantas is challenging the reign of Hong Kong’s largest airline Cathay Pacific, which is a bit peculiar since either has large enough planes to keep up with the growing demand in Sydney
Aside from the extra flights and capacity to Hong Kong, Qantas will also ramp up its service from Sydney to Manila from four times a week to five a week between early December and late March, in an attempt to offer more capacity during the peak holiday season.
“We’re pleased to add to the seasonal services we’re set to operate to Asia later this year, with the fifth weekly Manila flight again representing the dynamic nature of our network, which has the flexibility to offer our customers more flights during peak seasons,” said Evans.
On the Manila route the big challenge to Qantas and Philippine Airlines has been the arrival of Cebu Pacific since last September. Cebu Pacific uses an all economy 436 seat format so tight in its A330-300s that average sized adults cannot fit into them but the headline fares have been as low as $49 one way with all sorts of asterisks attached, which is comparable to an outer suburban Uber or an inner city taxi fare to Sydney airport.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.