- With the easing of domestic travel restrictions, the Australian government has provided domestic passenger travel guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
- Qantas Airways reopened its domestic lounges and implemented protocols to prevent the spread of the virus; the airline has added two new routes to NSW.
- Qantas also updated on Qantas Frequent Flyer and Afterpay partnership, under which Qantas Frequent Flyers can earn points using the BNPL platform.
It has been more than a month since the Australian government removed the travel restrictions locally. However, with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in NSW and Victoria, the borders of the two states will be closed from 7 July 2020 midnight.
Last week, the Australian aviation industry created a domestic passenger journey protocol to offer clear & consistent guidance regarding the risk minimisation rules and the procedures in domestic airports plus the local passenger trips.
Post the ease in domestic travel restrictions, Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) announced the reopening of domestic lounges with proper protocols and launched two new routes in the NSW region.
The Company also took steps to make flight booking more flexible. QAN also entered a partnership with Melbourne-headquartered fintech company, Afterpay so that frequent flyers could earn Qantas points using the BPNL player’s services.
In this article, we will look at the recent developments of Qantas Airways and throw light on the Qantas-Afterpay partnership and the reopening of domestic lounges.
Qantas Frequent Flyer and Afterpay agreement:
On 6 July 2020, Qantas Airways Limited released an announcement where it highlighted that Qantas Frequent Flyer and Afterpay would launch a partnership under which Qantas Frequent Flyers can earn Qantas Points with the BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) platform.
These frequent flyers would be able to get up to 5k Qantas Points when they connect their membership no. to their APT account.
Afterpay accounts for more than 15% of the online retail in the country and has brought changes to the approach people used to make purchases.
A Win-Win Situation for Qantas and Afterpay:
The partnership between both parties would be beneficial for both parties. Olivia Wirth, the CEO of Qantas Loyalty, stated that earning points with Afterpay Limited (ASX:APT) would be helpful for a significant portion of frequent buyers who maximise their earnings on everyday expenses. She also said that financial services are amongst the most prevalent means to win points in the program.
There are 13 million members who have different spending habits and financial inclination, and through this partnership, these members can be provided more options and reward points.
On the other hand, Anthony Eisen, CEO and Co-founder of Afterpay, said that connecting with the country’s biggest & highly appreciated loyalty programs would offer a substantial advantage for APT clients.
For those who are new to Afterpay, they can get Qantas points by entering & adding up Qantas Frequent Flyer membership number to the Afterpay account and earn a Qantas point for each dollar spent, up to 5k Qantas Points. The offer to the existing APT customers is restricted to initial 50k participants who link their membership number to their APT account.
Qantas Reopened Domestic Lounges from 1 July 2020
Following the ease in lockdown, Qantas reopened various domestic and regional lounges across the nation. The airline had to close its domestic & international lounges due to bans imposed by the government.
Now, the Company has started reopening the lounges in phases with the relaxation of state-based restrictions plus a rise in a domestic capacity, beginning with 11 of its 35 Australian domestic lounges from 1 July.
As part of the Qantas Group’s ‘Fly Well’ plan, various actions have been implemented across the lounge network to encourage the health & well-being of travellers as well as employees. These include:
- Limiting the no. of guests to obey the state-specific rules on indoor gatherings.
- A hosted All-Day Snacking Station.
- One-time use of coffee cups.
- Extra clean-up procedures.
- Disinfecting stations.
Qantas Chief Customer Officer welcomed its Frequent Flyers to lounges and was pleased to see people coming back to work.
Launched Two New Routes to Regional NSW
On 1 July 2020, Qantas launched two new routes to regional New South Wales. Thus, helping to restart the local tourism, hit hard by the pandemic. The first flight would operate between Sydney and Byron Bay.
The additional routes would be a component of steady ramping up of Qantas & Jetstar domestic flights which could get to a maximum of 40% of pre-coronavirus capacity levels in July 2020. Both the routes were initially planned to start earlier in 2020, but they got suspended due to the travel limitations imposed by the government.
QantasLink CEO, John Gissing stated that there had been a rise in the reservations, which showed that there was considerable demand from the Aussies to take a holiday after months of lockdown. He also said that the new services from Sydney would connect local travellers to the coastal hub of Byron Bay and Orange’s renowned food and wine scene.
QantasLink will run everyday return flights between Bryon Bay and Sydney with Q400 planes, along with Jetstar’s flights from Sydney and Melbourne. The airline would work three weekly return services amid Sydney & Orange on Q200 flights from 20 July 2020. Qantas intends to boost the frequency of the flight in the latter part of the year.
QAN also highlighted that it would have more flexibility while reserving the flight with the provision to amend the date of the flight once, without making any payment of change fee. The customers are urged to download the COVIDSafe app, and any individual with cold and flu-like signs are advised to stay at home.
Stock Information - QAN and APT
QAN stock ended the day’s trade at A$3.660 on 7 July 2020, down 3.43% from its previous close. The stock has delivered a -47.07% return on a YTD basis but has generated a positive return of 24.26% in the last three months.
The APT stock was on a trading halt. The Company had released an announcement related to the trading update for three months to 30 June 2020. Afterpay also updated on the capital raising of ~A$800 million and Co-Founder’s decision to sell 2.05 million shares in the Company.