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Qantas to Wet Lease Two Finnair A330 Aircraft to Bolster Sotheast Asian Routes
Recently, Qantas announced that it is boosting its international capacity for the coming season, partly with the help of oneworld alliance member Finnair. The press release stated that Qantas plans to wet lease two of Finnair’s A330 aircraft. The exciting news for Qantas passengers is that the aircraft that come equipped with Finnair’s revolutionary new seats they have called the “Air Lounge.” These new business class seats have received much praise from travelers despite the seats not being able to recline. Instead, passengers are invited to treat the seat like a couch and make themselves comfortable. The contour of the seat is entirely padded so that passengers can relax as they choose.
What is a Wet Lease?
A wet lease is quite a common occurrence in the airline industry; it means that an airline is leasing an aircraft as well as its crew to service a particular route. When passengers board the select flights that will have a QF flight number and QF catering they will be met by Finnair cabin crew as well as the Finnair cabin. This is an exciting prospect for any Australians that may otherwise not have the desire to try out Finnair’s business class product all the way to Helsinki. Finnair has crews based in Singapore.
Qantas’ Plans Moving Forward
The wet leasing of these aircraft coincides with Qantas wanting to reactivate some of its aircraft. The statement from Qantas states “From late October 2023*, the national carrier will add around one million seats to its international network over 12 months compared to its current schedule, offering customers more choice to popular destinations across Asia, the United States and the Pacific.”
The Australian and International Pilot’s Association Response
In a statement to Australian Aviation AIPA’s Captain Tony Lucas had this to say:
“Qantas’ decision to wet lease two Finnair aircraft is shocking, bitterly disappointing and could have been avoided with more effective management decisions. It beggars’ belief that Qantas is outsourcing the Spirit of Australia while simultaneously converting two of our own A330 passenger aircraft into freighters.”
In conclusion, the wet leasing of Finnair’s A330 is a net positive for the passenger experience. That being said, the frustration of the AIPA and its pilots is understandable as routes are being taken away from them and given to a company that has no foothold in the Australian market, only time will tell if this was a proper decision from the Australian flag carrier.
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