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Qantas adds nearly 900,000 extra seats for east coast
25/05/2012 - The battle for the flying dollar is set to heat up after Qantas Airways announced plans to pour almost 900,000 extra seats across Australia from July. Jordan Chong
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The bulk of the additional capacity will be along Australia's east coast, particularly key business routes between Sydney and Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane.
Rival Virgin Australia has been targeting a larger share of business travellers, a market segment dominated by Qantas, with new wide-bodied aircraft, the introduction of business class and upgraded airport lounges.
Qantas mainline - that is, planes with the red tail and white kangaroo - will have 11 extra services a week between Sydney and Melbourne and 11 more return flights between Sydney and Brisbane.
Separately, Qantas's low-cost subsidiary Jetstar planned to add 21 more flights a week on the Sydney-Melbourne sector, as well as additional services to leisure destinations such as the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.
Qantas has targeted a 65 per cent share of the domestic market across both Qantas and Jetstar, which the airline believed was a profit maximising position for the company.
"Qantas is increasing capacity and frequency on key business routes to provide greater flexibility for customers who prefer the benefits of travelling with a full service carrier," Joyce said in a statement.
Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said he was unconcerned about the Qantas move.
"You can't bank market share. What you bank is profits, so for us it is all about yield," Borghetti told reporters after a business lunch in Sydney on Thursday.
Virgin said yield, an industry term used to describe average airfares per passenger, grew by 13 per cent in the first half of 2011/12 and "so far in the second half we are still in double digits".
Borghetti said the local market was soft, particularly at the price-sensitive leisure end, while the business sector appeared to be more resilient amid worries about Europe and subdued consumer confidence.
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