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Qantas Plans to Add In-Flight Wi-Fi to One Plane Per Week

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told investors this week that the airline group is using record profits to expand its fleet, improve amenities, renovate equipment and launch bold new training initiatives.

Qantas Group reported its best-ever first-half profits this week. CEO Alan Joyce partially attributed the impressive results to a combination of capacity discipline on domestic routes and a slow and meticulous expansion of international operations.

The Australian airline group delivered a record $976 million in pre-tax profits for six months, ending in December 2017. The number is a whopping 15 percent higher than the results from the previous two quarters. Qantas Domestic and Jetstar led the company’s earnings with each airline posting record earnings of their own. The record-shattering earnings report trumps the previous best record of $921 million in profits declared in the first half of 2016.

Joyce explained that the strong earnings were all the more impressive because of new business challenges including rising fuel costs, over-capacity on international routes and increasing competition. The CEO said that the company will not be content to rest on its laurels and will instead aggressively reinvest profits in improving its airlines and earning a competitive edge.

“After several years of consistent performance, we now have a lot of momentum behind us; we’re vigilant about maintaining that momentum and we’re confident about the future it allows us to build,” Joyce said in a call unveiling the record-setting profits on Thursday. “Today’s result comes from investing in areas that provide margin growth and a network strategy that makes sure we have the right aircraft on the right route. Our lounges, Frequent Flyer program and initiatives like free Wi-Fi all drive customer satisfaction, and so does the network strength across Qantas and Jetstar. We operate in very competitive markets right across the Group, and we’re focused on continuous improvement.”

According to the airline, that continuous improvement will include the delivery of 18 new Airbus A321neo LR aircraft for use on Jetstar international routes. The airline group says it will refurbish its entire fleet of 45 QantasLink turboprop planes and spend millions to improve its flagship business class lounge at Sydney Airport (SYD). Qantas reports that it is adding in-flight wi-fi to its domestic fleet at a rate of one aircraft per day, with nearly 30 percent of its planes already equipped and wireless-ready. The company also announced ambitious plans for a pilot academy which could train as many as 500 pilots each year.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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