Qantas Airways Ltd domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi has warned that he plans to add two planes for each one competitor Virgin Australia adds to its fleet, sending a blunt message to Virgin that Qantas plans to aggressively defend its market share, according to The Australian.
Virgin has embarked on an aggressive push into Australia's premium flyer market, posing a greater challenge to Qantas' long-standing dominance of that segment of the passenger market.
The ensuing reduction in average fares as the two airlines increasingly went head-to-head weighed on both Qantas and Virgin's bottom lines in the first half of the current financial year.
But Mr Strambi made it clear that he has no intentions of letting up in ratcheting up capacity to keep pace with any growth by Virgin.
“We've made it very clear we'll be sensible in terms of capacity. But if a competitor puts one (plane) in, we'll put two in as a group,” he told The Australian.
“We're very clear, we're not making any apologies for it. That's the game and people need to understand the game. We're not about to move aside and let anyone walk into our markets without a competitive tussle.”
Virgin chief executive John Borghetti has criticised Qantas for its response to Virgin's growth plans, saying Qantas took to long to respond when an earlier retaliation would have weakened Virgin.