Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says cheaper flights on the cards when coronavirus restrictions end

  • 06/05/2020
Two words we haven't heard in quite some time.
Two words we haven't heard in quite some time. Photo credit: Getty Images

'Cheap flights' are two words that'll be music to the ears of both Kiwis and Australians who are keen to get back in the air and travelling when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Affordable airfares are on the way, according to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who shared his predictions for post-lockdown life on Linkedin.

Joyce reckons the Australian market will remain very competitive and can't see the industry operating without a competitor such as Virgin Australia, which is currently in liquidation.

"Stiff competition has made Qantas better over the years and we don't want that to stop now. And, frankly, the regulatory pressures on entrenched monopolies tend to make them unattractive," Joyce said.

The need for cashflow will mean low airfares. Airlines will need to convince people to travel to stimulate growth and cheap flights are the most obvious way to achieve it.

Getting the cash injection will begin to repair "the damage done by the devastating and sudden drop in revenue," Joyce said.

He also confirmed domestic flights will start well in advance of international travel.

"Australia has done a remarkable job of flattening the curve and cutting coronavirus infection rates. That's great news for our local tourism industry, with more people holidaying in Australia to start with," Joyce said.

But the good news comes with a warning: "We have to be careful not to take the brakes off too early."

Life will be different as we come out of this crisis and recovering from the economic impacts will take time for most companies as it will for individuals. 

Joyce said despite the setback, aviation will remain important for decades to come. A survey of Qantas' Frequent Flyers revealed 85 percent are keen to travel as soon as it's allowed.

"If this period of isolation has taught us nothing else, it's how much we value seeing people and places," Joyce said.

On Tuesday, the New Zealand and Australian government agreed to begin work on a possible Australasian travel bubble, allowing for travel between the two countries without the need for isolation or quarantine.