If there’s only one silver lining to be found in this coronavirus shitstorm, it may well be the fact that—once the borders are open again—a flight from Sydney to Melbourne could cost as little as $19.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce suggested this afternoon that the airline’s budget arm, Jetstar, could cut its airfares on the Sydney to Melbourne route to less than $20 one-way, in a bid to stimulate passenger demand once travel restrictions are relaxed.
With most of the nation still in lockdown, and many people unable to visit family from interstate, Joyce is anticipating a larger-than-usual appetite for domestic flights as soon as they’re allowed to operate again—and is entertaining the idea of slashing prices on what has historically been an extortionately expensive intercity transit, Fairfax reported.
“On Melbourne-Sydney you could see Jetstar have $39 airfares, you could see $19 airfares and we’ll still cover our cash costs on those flights," he said this afternoon, following an investor update.
Although Qantas’ domestic operations have been cut to a mere 5 percent of their pre-COVID levels, Joyce further noted that there was “light at the end of the tunnel” once travel restrictions were lifted.
Meanwhile, the airline announced that it would put its ambitions of flying non-stop from Melbourne and Sydney to New York and London—dubbed "Project Sunrise"— on hold. Qantas was forced to indefinitely postpone its purchase of about a dozen Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which would have been used to conduct the world's longest non-stop flights, after the pandemic brought international travel demand to a halt.