Qantas moots non-stop flights from London to Sydney

Qantas has challenged Airbus and Boeing to develop aircraft capable of flying non-stop from London to Sydney by 2022.

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Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

Qantas announced its annual financial results in Sydney today.  The airline posted a healthy profit before tax of AUD$1.4bn.   This is a sharp turnaround in fortunes for Qantas after it reported a record loss of AUD$2.8bn three years ago.  Much of the turnaround has been achieved through a restructuring of its international network.

In Europe, Qantas suspended twice daily services from London Heathrow to Sydney via Singapore and Bangkok and to Melbourne via Singapore and Hong Kong in favour of daily services to Sydney and Melbourne via Dubai under a joint-venture with Emirates.

Whilst Qantas seemed to be in retreat in Europe having ceded much market share to the “Big Three” Middle Eastern airlines (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways), its interest has reignited of late.  Qantas is due to launch non-stop flights to Perth in March 2018.  Qantas is also due to open a new lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3 this year.

Qantas has also today given a firm expression of interest in launching non-stop flights between London and Sydney by 2022.

Qantas has tasked aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing to produce new aircraft under development, the Airbus A350 Ultra Long Range and the Boeing 777X respectively, with sufficient range to operate London to Sydney non-stop with no restrictions on passenger loads.

Qantas claim that a non-stop flight between London and Sydney could shave four hours off the journey time.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce commented:

“From next year we’ll be flying direct from Perth to London, which is a huge leap forward. We believe advances in technology in the next few years will make Sydney to London direct a possibility and Qantas is well placed to be the airline to do it.

“Any aircraft purchase would have to meet strict financial thresholds, but these direct flights would be revolutionary for air travel in Australia.”

Airlines do not ordinarily give away commercial decisions on route launches away years in advance, and this is a very public message aimed squarely at aircraft manufacturers to sharpen their pencils.

It is also axiomatic that the viability of non-stop flights from London to Sydney will depend on how non-stop flights to Perth are received, both in terms of cabin comfort and whether passengers, particularly those at the front of the aircraft, are willing to pay a premium for non-stop services.

Personally, we would love to see non-stop flights to Sydney and for Qantas to rebuild its presence in London back to four flights a day.

Also today, Qantas announced a refurbishment of its Airbus A380 fleet which will include new business class and premium economy cabins and “refreshed” First Class and economy cabins.

 

Qantas withdraws London – Dubai – Melbourne in favour of Perth stopover

Qantas its to withdraw its London Heathrow – Dubai – Melbourne route from Sunday 25 March 2018.

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Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

Following the news today that Qantas is to fly direct from London Heathrow to Perth from Sunday 25 March 2018, Qantas has also confirmed it is to also withdraw its service from London Heathrow to Melbourne via Dubai, operated with the Airbus A380.

Instead, passengers wishing to travel between London and Melbourne courtesy of Qantas can either fly on an Emirates codeshare service with a change of aircraft in Dubai.

Alternatively passengers can connect on to Qantas’ non-stop Boeing 787-900 service between London Heathrow and Perth which will ultimately originate and terminate in Melbourne.
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Qantas Launches Non-stop Perth Flights From March 2018

Qantas will fly non-stop between London Heathrow and Perth from Saturday 25 March 2018.

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Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

Qantas has today confirmed the launch date of non-stop daily flights between London Heathrow and Perth. 

The new direct route will launch from Perth on Saturday 24 March 2018 and from London on Sunday 25 March 2018.  

It will also replace Qantas’ existing London Heathrow – Dubai – Melbourne service.

Flights are on sale now at Qantas.com.

At the time of writing return fares (including a Saturday night stay) near to launch are in the region of £1,260 for economy and £4,231 for business class.

Last year Qantas gained huge worldwide publicity with the promise of non-stop flights between London and Perth, operated by the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner. With a flight time from London Heathrow of 15 hours and 45 minutes, this will be the longest non-stop route from London. The airline has since also mooted the possibility of non-stop flights between London and Sydney in appoximately five years’ time with either new long range Boeing or Airbus aircraft.

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Qantas unveils its new Boeing 787-900 premium economy seat

Qantas has unveiled its new premium economy seat which will operate on its Boeing 787-900 flights between London Heathrow and Perth.

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Qantas Boeing 787-900 Premium Economy Seat (Source: Qantas Airways)
Qantas Boeing 787-900 Premium Economy Seat (Source: Qantas Airways)

Qantas has today unveiled its new premium economy seat which is due to operate on Qantas’ non-stop Boeing 787-900 flights between London Heathrow and Perth from March 2018.

At the time Qantas announced the launch of non-stop flights between London and Perth it kept details of its premium economy seats under wraps, whilst hailing it as revolutionary. Today Qantas has unveiled the seat and some aspects of the premium economy cabin design.

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Qantas moots non-stop flights from London to Sydney & Melbourne

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Qantas (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)
Qantas (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

This week’s Australian Financial Review magazine carries an extensive feature on Qantas. It is well worth a read. Much of the feature focuses on the work Qantas is doing to prepare for non-stop flights between London Heathrow and Perth.

Last year, Qantas gained a huge amount of favourable worldwide publicity when it announced non-stop flights between London Heathrow and Perth.

These flights are due to go on sale in April 2017 in advance of the route’s launch in March 2018. Whilst Qantas is still keeping some details under wraps, such its new premium economy seat, it has given the AFR some insight into its preparations for the new route. Specifically, Qantas is looking at the whole “ultra long-haul” in flight experience. This includes the design and timing of in flight meals, cabin lighting and in-flight announcements.

Also of note is that Qantas raises the possibility of non-stop flights between London and Sydney with the Ultra Long Range version of the Airbus A350-900 aircraft and Boeing 777-8X aircraft.
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Qantas to launch non-stop flights from London to Perth from March 2018

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Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)
Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

Qantas Airways is to launch a new direct non-stop route from London Heathrow to Perth in Western Australia from March 2018.

This is the first scheduled non-stop direct link between Europe and Australia.

There have been non-stop flights between Europe and Australia in the past, but only as one-off charter flights with a significantly lighter weight.

At a distance of 14,498 kilometres and a fight time of approximately 17 hours, this will be one of the longest “ultra long haul” non-stop flights in the world.   This is a time saving of 3-4 hours on one stop services.

Qantas has yet to announce the exact departure and arrival times of the flights and flights will not go on sale until April 2017.   If Qantas is to use departure slots from its existing Heathrow portfolio a departure time of around either 12 midday or 10pm is likely.

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Qantas to open a new lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3 in 2017

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Qantas Airways has just announced it is to open a new dedicated lounge for first and business class passengers flying on its daily services to Sydney and Melbourne from London Heathrow Terminal 3, which will open in 2017.

Currently, Qantas does not have its own lounge at London Heathrow and eligible passengers have to make use of the British Airways Galleries Club and First lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 3.

The lounge will occupy two levels of the airport terminal with capacity for 230 passengers. The new lounge is expected to be modelled on recent Qantas lounges in Hong Kong and Singapore. Construction will commence later this year.

Features of the new lounge will include:

• Australian chef Neil Perry’s Rockpool menu and dining experience;
• Full-service bar with Rockpool cocktails;
• Full bathroom facilities including showers;
• Business facilities; and
• Children’s zone.

Eligible members of Oneworld alliance frequent flyer programmes will also have access to the lounge and with Cathay Pacific also refurbishing its lounges at London Heathrow Terminal 3, Oneworld passengers will have a good choice of lounge facilities at London Heathrow.

This is also a welcome investment by Qantas in London. Qantas has previously reduced its daily services from London Heathrow from four to two daily. It also ended its partnership with British Airways in favour a partnership with Emirates with all services to Sydney and Melbourne routed via Dubai as a consequence. There have been question marks over its long term commitment to London which can be allayed by the news of this investment.

Whilst the lounge design and menus will have a strong Australian flavour, Qantas do promise a British twist. In any event, a touch of Australia will no doubt be welcome in a wet and grey day at London Heathrow!
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Qantas Re-times London – Dubai – Melbourne

Qantas has retimed its London Heathrow – Dubai – Melbourne service in order to reduce downtime of its Airbus A380 fleet at London Heathrow.

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Qantas Airbus A380 at London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Image Credit: Heathrow)
Qantas Airbus A380 at London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

A familiar sight for anyone passing through Heathrow during the day is a pair of Qantas A380s parked at a remote stand near Terminal 3.

Whilst providing those on a mundane business trip to Frankfurt or Geneva the opportunity to dream about going somewhere else, it serves as an illustration of the hard economics for Qantas of competing against Middle Eastern and Asian airlines in the London to Australia market.

Currently, Qantas’ twice daily flights to Australia depart late in the evening and arrive in the morning at London Heathrow meaning hugely expensive assets are left on the ground all day doing nothing.

From 20 July 2014, as part of a broader restructuring of Qantas’ network in response to a deteriorating financial performance, Qantas flights to Melbourne will be retimed from a late evening departure to an early afternoon departure.

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Qantas to maintain twice-daily London services; Melbourne retimed

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Qantas Airbus A380 at London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Image Credit: Heathrow)
Qantas Airbus A380 at London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Qantas has just published its half year results. In the past week there has been a frenzy of speculation in the Australian media following prior warnings from Qantas that it would incur heavy losses resulting in a significant restructuring of the airline and possibly drastic changes to its route network.

The losses themselves are as feared with Qantas reporting a loss before tax of AUD$252 million. Qantas has announced significant job cuts and disposals of aircraft and deferrals of aircraft deliveries.

There has been much speculation about the future of Qantas daily Airbus A380 services from London Heathrow to Sydney and Melbourne, following anecdotal reports of weak demand on the London Heathrow – Dubai sectors of the London – Melbourne routes.

Qantas has today confirmed that the two daily London Heathrow services will remain. However, the London – Melbourne route (currently a late night departure from London and early morning arrival, resulting in significant downtime of nearly 17 hours for the aircraft) will be retimed from November 2014.

We do not yet know what the new times are. One possible option is to retime the departure to late morning, as Qantas used to have to Sydney and Melbourne when it had four daily services from London Heathrow.

End of an era for the Kangaroo Route as Qantas calls Dubai home

London Air Travel » Qantas » Page 3

Emirates & Qantas Partnership (Image Credit: Emirates)
Emirates & Qantas Partnership (Image Credit: Emirates)

There probably isn’t an airline route in the world where travellers have more choice of airlines routings than London to Australia. As non-stop routes between London and Australia remain a technical impossibility and fuel prices mean that is likely to remain the case, a stop en route has always been required.

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