Qantas A380 network to add Hong Kong flights in January


HONG KONG–Troubled Australian carrier Qantas said Thursday it would add Hong Kong to its network of A380 routes from January with four flights a week to Sydney in its newest aircraft. “Qantas will operate four return services per week between Hong Kong and Sydney from Jan. 15, 2012,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement.

“Our A380 fleet has continued to generate extremely positive feedback from our customers since its introduction, and we are pleased to now add another destination to our A380 network.” Qantas has launched a public relations blitz after the recent two-day grounding of its global fleet due to an industrial dispute with workers, which left some 70,000 travelers stranded in 22 cities around the world. Canberra was forced to step in to prevent huge damage to the Australian economy and end all industrial action at the airline, but furious passengers have vowed never to fly Qantas again. The firm’s image took another blow Friday when an engine problem saw a Qantas A380 diverted to Dubai, a reminder of the engine explosion that temporarily grounded its entire superjumbo fleet a year earlier. Joyce kicked off the public relations offensive Sunday with a AU$20 million (US$21 million) offer of a free return flight within Australia or between it and New Zealand for every customer stranded by his decision to ground the airline. Announcing the A380 service to Hong Kong, the airline said Hong Kong was a “key market” for Qantas. Qantas would receive its 11th and 12th A380s later this year, providing capacity for four return services a week to Hong Kong.

It said A380 services between Melbourne and London via Singapore would increase from six flights a week to daily, and services between Melbourne and Los Angeles would increase from four flights a week to daily.