Latest news updates: Boohoo warns on profits as returns and freight costs hit


Qantas has become the latest airline to experience a slowdown in bookings, particularly for international routes, due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

The Australian carrier said it was holding “significant levels” of domestic bookings over the Christmas and southern hemisphere summer period, fuelled by the lifting in recent weeks of prolonged coronavirus restrictions across the country that have unleashed pent-up demand.

This momentum, though, “slowed in late November due to uncertainty regarding the Omicron variant but there has been recent improvement”, the airline said in a market update on Thursday, local time.

Qantas said it had experienced “extremely strong” levels of bookings for new routes to Delhi from Sydney and Melbourne. However, it warned there was a “significant drop” in booking momentum for overseas flights following the discovery of the newest coronavirus variant of concern.

“The news of the Omicron variant had a clear impact on people’s confidence to book international trips in particular, but we haven’t seen large numbers of cancellations. Many customers have strong intentions to travel if the border and quarantine settings are right and in the past few days we have seen intakes improve,” Alan Joyce, chief executive, said.

Qantas said it had to adjust the restart timing for several overseas routes, including Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Shanghai, in response to their extended border restrictions and had paused the restart of flights to San Francisco from Sydney and Brisbane.

The airline said its ramp-up of international capacity had been slowed by these and other factors and it now expected capacity to be at the bottom end of forecasts for it to be 40-55 per cent of pre-Covid levels by the end of its financial year next June.

Qantas also announced it had chosen Airbus as the preferred aircraft to replace the Boeing 737s in its domestic fleet.


Read More: Latest news updates: Boohoo warns on profits as returns and freight costs hit

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