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Battle of two giant airlines Qantas and Virgin for business class
Passengers are in high spirits for two reasons, one is that the prices of domestic flights have been reduced and the other thing is that Virgin Australia and Qantas are gearing up to boost the technology on their flights in coming months.
Both the largest Airlines are in fierce price war with each other on all its domestic routes. Both of them are in a bid to do best for their passengers and want to offer their passengers something more than in flight entertainment particularly for their business class passengers. They are trying every method to please its business class passengers over a trial last month Virgin thought of offering Samsung tablet to business class passengers by June end. Even the economy class will be made available of wireless device for a fee that is yet to be disclosed. Virgin is also has plans to introduce Wi-Fi system on their aircraft later this year. This system will allow the passengers to access entertainment from their personal laptops or other electronic devices in flight.
The airlines have still not made up their mind whether or not to introduce wireless in their domestic flights as some of the passengers prefer not to be reached them while they are in air traveling. More over as the Australia having less number of ground stations, the airlines will have to rely on expensive satellite technology which will connect the passengers to internet as decided.
Since January Qantas on a trial basis started distributing ipads to its customers including those in economy class in its Boeing 767-300 aircraft. It will also give an access of more than 200 hours of entertainment but this not on internet. Qantas have not yet made up their mind whether to make ipads available on their domestic fleet. Even though Qantas has been experimenting Wi-Fi connection on their 6 of their Jumbos that flies from Melbourne to Los Angeles, which started in March said that they have made no plans to make Wi-Fi available on their domestic flights.
Peter Harbison, who is the chairman of Asia Pacific Aviation, said that airline is making all efforts to make improvements in technology on-board. This is battle for high end and has business class traveler in target. Business class battle is already threatening to curb the profit of both airlines this year as a result of discounted fares.
In order to save its market position Qantas has launched a weekend sale of business class fares of both domestic as well as international flights, keeping in mind the short term hit to its yield. Russell Shaw, a Macquarie Equities analyst told Qantas’s considerable increase in capacity over a period of 6 months would be a risky move both for its yield and the passenger load in domestic market. Sluggish market led Virgins share to close at 43.5¢ which is low by 1.5¢. Qantas on the other hand rose to $1.52 per share.