The pandemic continues to impact airlines and carriers in terms of labor and capacity challenges. Currently, this is being compounded by the influx of passengers visiting Australia after the extensive COVID lockdown were lifted and most recently, by the backlogs through Sydney’s clearance facility. Australia’s wet season (November - April) will again disrupt supply chains and test consumer tolerance, anticipating deliveries to take 9% longer than in drier years.
As we continue to face longer than expected transit times to Australia this peak season, our goal at Passport is to continue to offer transparency into our service to Australia and how it impacts our partners.
What is happening in Australia & why is capacity so strained?
· Qantas, a major carrier in Australia, has suffered labor shortages after major layoffs due to Covid-19. The airline industry, including Qantas, is going full speed ahead to recruit new staff.
· Qantas is the largest Australian airline by fleet size. When it struggles, it has a cascading impact through the supply chain.
· Labor shortages have led to flight delays including cancellations impacting Qantas, and Lufthansa Cargo, among others.
· Qantas and others retired their jumbo Boeing 747s early due to decreased air travel demand caused by the pandemic. These were larger aircraft with more cargo capacity. Qantas has 12 A350s, which fly nonstop from Australia to locations including New York. However, staff shortages and training remain the main challenge as the Australian aviation industry recovers from the pandemic.
· In July/August 2022, the Sydney clearance facility has had delays recently due to a volume surge. The lead times are returning to normal after the industry uplift shortage issues in July/Aug.
· There has been a surge in travelers, which puts further constraints on cargo capacity. Luggage takes priority over cargo hence there is limited space on passenger aircraft.
What has Passport planned to do?
· We have secured access to 4 additional flights with Qantas out of LAX for peak season. Alternative flights will be available via Honolulu (HNL) and Auckland (AKL), if needed.
· Flights will fly into 3 ports: Sydney (SYD), Brisbane (BNE), and Melbourne (MEL). Passport agents are available in case of service failures.
· If USPS suspends service, a process is in place to reroute via commercial service.
Our Commercial team continues to look into further options to upgrade our service- more information to come. Please continue to follow our weekly country-level Service Alerts here.