Australia’s Qantas Airways launches group travel website in UK

By @diplomatist10 on
Passengers board a Qantas Airways Boeing 737-800 plane from the tarmac of the Coolangatta Airport, also called Gold Coast Airport, in this picture taken October 25, 2014. Reuters/David Gray

Australia’s Qantas Airways has launched a group travel website in the UK to enable travel agents with simplified processes for group travel bookings to Dubai, Australia and beyond.

As the first airline in Australia to do it, Qantas with its Group Travel website is trying to reach out to all UK based travel agents with a valid IATA number, with round the clock service, seven days a week. The agents will gain from benefits such as competitive pricing in real time, flexible group fare across all cabins, automatic alerts on upcoming deadlines, reports Breaking Travel News.

Expressing delight, Eric Jelinek, Qantas regional general manager UK and Europe said Qantas Group Travel website will prove to be a great support for all agents who manage group travel.

“We’re always looking for ways to make it easy for travel agents to sell Qantas and the group travel system delivers on that. With such a demand for group bookings in the UK, it was fundamental for us to introduce a more streamlined approach and we shall look forward to receiving feedback from agents,” he added.

Qantas Group Travel will primartily facilitate booking requests for groups of 10 or more passengers who may be flying to the same destination for a common purpose on the same flight. Similarly, bigger groups of 25 or more going to a same destination will be accommodated on separate flights.

S&P debt upgrade

Meanwhile, the Nikkei Asian Review, in a report noted that Qantas Airways has two main reasons to cheer in November. One is its 95th birthday and second is the bouncing back into the investment-grade credit territory.

In 2013, the airline was downgraded to junk status. After years of volatility, now Qantas has been granted a better rating by Standard & Poor's following CEO Alan Joyce’s presentation of a "prudent" financial policy.

The S&P on Nov.17 said it would upgrade Qantas' long-term debt from BB+ to BBB, above the investment-grade line with a short-term debt upgrade from B to A-3.

“We assess Qantas' revised financial framework to be more formal, forward-looking and preemptive, and should help to buffer the group against earnings volatility inherent in the airline industry,” said S&P.

It cited the prime reasons for the revised rating as strengthened balance sheet, conservative approach to managing capital and a more benign domestic market landscape. The ratings upgrade followed a broad restructuring by the airline, which started showing results in 2015, with $975 million in pre-tax profit.

Qantas also made a strategic capacity shifting to Asian routes where the demand is up and tried to reduce the competitive pressures from trans-Pacific US market.

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