SYDNEY, Dec 21, 2009 (AFP) - Australian airline Qantas on Monday said it would begin increasing its domestic flight capacity to meet improving demand, restoring services cut during the economic downturn.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline would add more than 340,000 seats starting in March on routes including Melbourne, Sydney, Townsville, Perth, Ayers Rock, Cairns, Adelaide and Brisbane.
"We are seeing some improvements in domestic demand and so the time is right to begin restoring capacity to ensure we are well placed to meet that demand," Joyce said.
"The changes will see the addition of a total 19 return services across selected routes, while capacity will be restored on others by upgrading from Boeing 737 to larger Boeing 767 aircraft."
Qantas slashed capacity in 2008 as a result of soaring fuel prices and dampened passenger demand.
The airline cut capacity by five percent in May of that year, later further reducing capacity by the equivalent of grounding 10 aircraft to cope with the slump in passenger demand caused by the global financial slowdown.
"We will continue to monitor demand with a view to restoring further capacity at the appropriate time," Joyce added.