Qantas will axe up to 15 trans-Tasman flights from October, slashing services from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland.
Up to half of those routes will be handed over to low-cost offshoot Jetstar as Qantas continues its cost-cutting campaign.
Qantas says it is moving to a seasonally-driven schedule geared more closely to the different demands of business and leisure travellers.
There will be three fewer Qantas flights a week during the peak season but 15 less across the low season.
From October 26 Qantas will cancel one daily Melbourne-Auckland flight and one daily Sydney-Auckland flight, while also trimming the Brisbane-Auckland timetable to five flights a week during the low season.
Jetstar will step in with six new weekly Melbourne-Auckland services and a new weekly Sydney-Auckland flight, but will also axe its thrice-weekly Adelaide-Auckland service from August 24.
Here's the full list of affected Qantas services:
Introduced to the network during Christmas and school holiday peak periods. QF183 will operate on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays and the QF186 will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. QF183 will depart Melbourne at 0855 and QF186 will depart Auckland at 1950.
Introduced to the network during Christmas and school holiday peak periods on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The QF181 will depart Sydney at 1345 and the QF182 will depart Auckland at 1100.
Introduced to the network during Christmas and school holiday peak periods on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The QF185 will depart Sydney at 1800 and the QF188 will depart Auckland at 1530.
QF125/126: Auckland-Brisbane (daily)
During low demand periods, will change from a daily service, to operate five days per week (will not operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays).
QF156/153: Auckland-Melbourne (daily)
Cancelled from 26 October 2014.
QF148/141: Auckland-Sydney (daily)
Cancelled from 26 October 2014.
The trans-Tasman turf war
The trans-Tasman corridor is Australia's most popular international route, with a total of 2.5 million travellers from both Australia and New Zealand crossing the pond each year.
Stepping down to to all-economy Jetstar flights are unlikely to please corporate travellers who book into Qantas business class.
But there's little choice in it for travellers leaning towards the Virgin Australia/Air New Zealand alliance, as most of those airlines' flights also forego a business class cabin.
However, Virgin Australia is expected to move to take advantage of Qantas' cuts. Earlier this year Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti revealed plans to take the trans-Tasman alliance with Air New Zealand to a new level.
"Trans-Tasman is in good shape and the alignment with Air New Zealand has been nothing short of superb" he told Australian Business Traveller, "but the best thing about that is there is still a lot more that we can do together, and you will see that happen over the next nine months or so."
In July 2013 Qantas pledged to maintain "existing capacity on trans-Tasman routes that both Qantas and Emirates fly" as a condition of approval for its partnership with Emirates, and the airline says it will continue to comply with that requirement.
According to a Qantas spokesperson, "the number of seats offered by the Qantas Group will remain relatively the same, and there is likely to be additional ad hoc services on top of the new published schedule."
“As part of our transformation program, Qantas is becoming more dynamic and more flexible in responding to market conditions" said Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey.
"This has seen us take advantage of seasonal opportunities, like the Perth to Auckland service we started last summer. On the flip side, we’ll reduce flights at times of the year when demand naturally drops back."
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