Qantas still revved for premium Asian-based Red Q airline

By David Flynn, December 9 2011
Qantas still revved for premium Asian-based Red Q airline

UPDATE | Qantas has now confirmed it has shelved plans for the Asian-based premium airline – click here for full details.

Previous | Despite speculation that Qantas may ground its ‘Red Q’ Asian-based premium offshoot before it even launches, and potential Red Q partner Malaysia Airline’s own plans for a similar premium airline, Qantas says it’s still keen to launch the airline which some wags have tagged ‘Qantasia’.

In fact, the Red Roo believes its medium-range Red Q (which may also be branded OneAsia) will complement the regional routes which MAS has earmarked for its own top-shelf carrier.

The Malaysia Airlines offshoot will focus on destinations within four hours of Kuala Lumpur, whereas Red Q – which is tipped to use KL as its base – would run flights from Australia and other destinations further afield as well as within Asia. That still leaves plenty of scope for crossover into destinations such as Singapore, Jakarta, Vietnam, Bangkok and China.

Qantas says its plans for Red Q could dovetail into the regional routes of Malaysia Airlines' own premium carrier. MAS
Qantas says its plans for Red Q could dovetail into the regional routes of Malaysia Airlines' own premium carrier

Both the Qantas and MAS spin-offs will primarily target the business travel market rather than the leisure sector, which is drawn more to low-cost carriers such as Jetstar Asia and the forthcoming Scoot.

According to a report in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, Qantas “is targeting early February as the deadline for unveiling detailed plans for a new airline to be based in Kuala Lumpur as part of a joint venture with Malaysia Airlines.”

“However, it is believed that if a suitable outcome is not reached by then, the likelihood of any deal proceeding is minimal” suggests SMH journalist Matt O’Sullivan.

Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth told the paper that “discussions are continuing with relevant parties about the establishment of a premium carrier. Qantas remains very much committed to this."


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


15 Apr 2011

Total posts 582

So really what we're going to see is one airline based in KL, rather than two? Seems pretty stupid to me for MH to be a part of a JV with QF and do their own thing on the side. We've seen stranger things from MH though, so I guess it's possible...


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 671

Wouldn't this mean TWO 'premium airlines' based in KL, the MAS regional one and Red Q as well? Sounds a bit strange. Can't agree with QF that Red Q would complement the new MAS airline, which I read would be called Sapphire, are 'premium' customers like business travellers really going to want to fly from Australia into KL and then change to another aircraft to get to China or Indonesia? They're exactly the sort of people who would rather fly direct, not waste a few hours in transit. It's starting to sound like Qantas will get its reason to cancel or at least 'delay' Red Q after all, they can blame MAS as well as the global economy!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 244

I do not understand why MAS need to have all business class flights. MAS need to look at Malaysian demographics of business travellers and it is not a huge financial hub compare to Hong Kong or Singapore. Not yet anyway. Great to have connection for Australian business travellers connecting in KL but just fill the MAS business class seats instead of a new premium airline. I suggest Qantas to focus on plying codeshare routes with MAS since they do not have direct flights to KL and ply codeshare beyond KL onwards to get the load factor needed to make the route profitable and not waste the empty seats. Eventually increase frequencies and then Qantas can consider opening their own routes to KL.

MAS should just stick to their operations and work on route, marketing, aircraft procurement, pricing strategies, and to get their planes to more than 80% load factor which is lacking compare to Singapore Airlines who seem to be able to fill their planes.

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