SYDNEY, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Qantas Airways Ltd said
on Thursday it will offer top-tier members of rival frequent
flyer programmes a fast-track to higher status as its main
domestic rival, Virgin Australia, pursues a less premium
strategy under its new owner.
The move could help boost Qantas' market share in lucrative
corporate and high-end leisure travel as domestic flights ramp
up in Australia due to the reopening of state borders.
"With so much uncertainty in the market, we've seen a spike
in requests from people wanting us to match their status with
other airlines," Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said in a
statement. "If they are willing to bring their travel across to
Qantas, we will fast track them to Gold status."
Qantas Gold status includes access to its large network of
airport lounges, priority check-in and boarding and preferential
By early December, Qantas expects 30 of its 35 domestic
airport lounges will be open, whereas Virgin last week said it
would maintain only six domestic lounges as part of its shift to
becoming a more value-focused mid-market airline.
Qantas also includes free Wi-Fi on its domestic flights,
while Virgin is reviewing the future of its Wi-Fi offering,
which had previously been complimentary.
Qantas is flying just under 40% of its pre-pandemic domestic
capacity now that state border openings have allowed it to ramp
up Sydney-Melbourne flights.
It expects that to rise to around 60% of pre-pandemic levels
by Christmas as Queensland opens its borders further, which
could allow the airline to report positive net cash flow in the
second half of its financial year ending June 30, 2021.
(Reporting by Jamie Freed; editing by Richard Pullin)