Australian carriers Qantas and Jetstar are presently gearing up for what is predicted to be the busiest Easter since 2019 and the pre-pandemic era.
It is anticipated that more than 620,000 customers to fly across their combined domestic and international networks over the coming five-day long weekend.
Easter Thursday and Monday peak
Easter Thursday will be the single biggest day for the two carriers with more than 120,000 customers travelling on nearly 1,200 services. Passenger numbers will then will our peak again on Easter Monday, as customers return home from their extended break.
Last Easter, 601,000 customers flew over the corresponding five-day period.
Both airlines have been working with airports and suppliers to ensure the holiday period is not impacted by the long queues for security screening and delayed baggage that customers faced over Easter 2022.
Over the past year, Qantas and Jetstar have made improvements to their operations to minimise delays and disruptions for customers.
Qantas has been the most on-time major domestic airline for six months in a row, with almost eight out of 10 flights (78.3 per cent) departing on time during February, despite Air Traffic Control staffing shortages and weather disruptions.
Qantas is hopeful to extend this performance level to a seventh month when official government data is released later this month.
The national carrier says that bag rates are back at pre-Covid levels for Qantas, and in all states that its customer call wait times are lower than pre-pandemic, currently averaging five minutes.
Qantas’ operational performance over Grand Prix weekend showed significant improvement on its performance last year.
Over the weekend there was a 25-percentage point improvement in flights departing on time, 40 per cent fewer flights were cancelled and the rate of misplaced bags was five times lower. Queues for security screening at Melbourne and Sydney airports averaged less than five minutes.
Initiatives over Easter
During what will be an extremely busy time at the nation’s major airports, the Qantas Group has implemented a number of initiatives to help ensure a smoother travel experience this Easter.
Almost 3500 additional operational employees have been recruited to support increased travel, including cabin crew, pilots, engineers and airport customer service staff.
Reserve staffing levels will be boosted by 20 per cent to minimise any potential impact from sick leave.
Up to 20 aircraft will be on standby to provide extra buffer and reduce delays, including as a result of global parts shortages.
Aircraft on standby include an Airbus A330, A320s, a Boeing 737 and a number of regional aircraft. Jetstar also has six new A321neo aircraft that have joined the fleet since last Easter.
Two further support the long weekend peak demand, industry partners will deploy extra staff, including Airservices Australia air traffic controllers and additional airport security screeners during peak periods.
To meet continued high levels of travel demand, the Qantas Group has increased domestic capacity and returned to more international destinations as the global airline industry continues to recover from COVID.
Across the domestic network, the most popular Easter holiday spots include the Queensland Gold Coast, Cairns, Hamilton Island and the Victorian capital of Melbourne.