Qantas is reducing the number of seats on its Hong Kong services as anti government protests continue and demand for travel to Hong Kong continues to fall.
Australian Aviation is reporting that Qantas will reduce Hong Kong seat numbers by 7%. It will achieve this not by reducing the number of services but by swapping out larger aircraft for smaller aircraft.
Qantas has four flights a day to Hong Kong. Two originate from Sydney. It is not unusual to see Qantas put A380s on their Hong Kong flights from Sydney. Now the morning departure (QF127) will be operated by a 787-9. The evening departure (QF117) will be operated by an A330-200.
The daily flight from Melbourne (QF29) shows as being operated by an A330-300 throughout September 2019. The daily service from Brisbane (QF97) also shows as being operated by an A330-300.
Qantas indicates some of those A330-300 services will swap over to A330-200 services. What’s the difference? Less seats in the economy cabin. That’s how they are reducing their seat numbers on the route. As the airline notes, the seats, the cabins, and the service remains the same.
Qantas says the move is temporary and that larger aircraft will be put back onto the Hong Kong routes when demand picks up again.
It’s interesting to note that premium cabin seat numbers remain largely unaffected while economy class seat numbers are being reduced. That reflects the anecdotal evidence that corporate travel to Hong Kong is largely holding up for the time being while the leisure/tourism market bears the brunt of decreased demand.