Qantas CEO Alan Joyce believes the airline's greatest growth in the short term will come from the USA and the UK rather than Asia.
Interviewed by PwC for the firm's annual Australian CEO Survey, Joyce cautioned that opportunities in China are yet to mature into a solid business for the airline.
“While the Chinese market has huge opportunities, in the short-term, it’s still a market that is very low yield, very high volume,” Joyce explained.
“The greatest growth for Qantas over the next three to five years – we still believe – is in the traditional markets,” he said, citing the USA and the UK.
“The United States is a huge market for Qantas. We’ve added extra capacity: about 100 frequencies over the peak period, because we see good strength coming out of the US market."
Qantas has added flights from Melbourne to Los Angeles, is re-timing select Melbourne and Sydney flights for afternoon arrivals into LAX, and also last year upgraded its daily Sydney-Dallas service to an Airbus A380.
The airline also launched a small number of seasonal flights between Sydney and Vancouver, with the option to continue those throughout the year should ongoing demand prove strong enough.
"Potential growth" in the UK
As for Blighty, “we still have a big operation into London and we see the UK market also as an area of potential growth going forward.”
Qantas' current UK footprint is limited to London, with daily A380s from Sydney and Melbourne darting via Dubai.
Other cities including Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh and Glasgow are catered for through the Qantas-Emirates alliance and a stopover at Dubai.
Qantas is tipped to report a $300-350 million profit for the six months from July to December when the airline reveals its six monthly performance towards the end of February, with all divisions of the airline – including its ailing international arm – tracking back into the black.
The pretax underlying profit would be Qantas' strongest performance in the second half of the calendar year (first half of the financial year) since 2010.