Qantas Suspends London Flights Until October 2020

Qantas has suspended all scheduled passenger flights from London to Australia until the end of October 2020 at the earliest.

London Air Travel » Australia

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Pre Departure, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019
Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Pre Departure, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019 (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Qantas has suspended all scheduled passenger flights from London Heathrow to Australia until the end of October 2020 at the earliest.

Qantas does not expect to operate any scheduled international passenger flights, except for New Zealand, until the end of October.

This follows comments by the Australian Federal Government that it does not expect to reopen its borders to international travel until 2021.

Australia, and New Zealand, have been relatively successful at containing the outbreak of COVID-19.

However, after declaring no active cases of COVID-19, New Zealand now has three active cases, all from international air travellers returning to the country. Recently reported cases in the Australian state of Victoria are also due to returning international travellers.

This will make all countries extremely cautious about lifting travel restrictions, and requiring strict adherence to rules on quarantine for arriving passengers.

Qantas has operated special repatriation flights from London Heathrow to Perth. These were suspended in early June after the Australian Federal Government ended funding for these flights.

Qantas’ original plan following the outbreak of COVID-19 was to operate twice daily flights from London Heathrow to Melbourne and Sydney, via Perth non-stop, with Boeing 787-9 aircraft, with the latter replacing its daily Airbus A380 service to Sydney via Singapore. This is likely to be the case when Qantas eventually resumes flights from London.

For passengers with bookings, guidance on refunds and rebooking flights is available from Qantas.

BA & Qatar Airways Approval For Australia Joint-Business

British Airways and Qatar Airways have received regulatory approval to operate a joint-business between Europe and Australia.

London Air Travel » Australia

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5C, (Image Credit: Heathrow)

British Airways and Qatar Airways have received final approval from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) to operate a joint-business in respect of flights between certain cities in Europe and Australia.

You could be forgiven for thinking the two airlines already had such a joint business for Australia, but that is not the case.

Whilst BA and Qatar have operated a joint business for some years, this only currently covers flights from the UK to Doha, and many destinations beyond Doha in Africa and Asia.

BA and Qatar have operated a codeshare for many UK – Australia routings such as Manchester – Doha – Melbourne or Cardiff – Doha – Perth which can be booked through BA as a codeshare.

The approval from the ACCC will allow BA and Qatar to take this beyond a codeshare and co-ordinate schedules and fares on a number of routes from Western Europe via Doha to certain cities in Australia which are Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne and Perth.

London – Sydney is not included in the joint business as BA serves this with its own aircraft, at least for now. Approval was sought before the outbreak of COVID-19, which is likely to have a significant impact on BA’s route network and timetable in the medium term.

Regulatory approval will take effect from 29 May 2020 and will last until 29 May 2025.

Whilst in theory regulatory approval allows BA and Qatar to co-ordinate schedules on these routes, it is unlikely we would see BA flying to Australia via Doha. The main driver behind this is for BA to take advantage of Qatar’s network to Australia from Europe and for Qatar to take advantage of BA’s distribution network.

The new joint business does not seem to disturb BA’s existing codeshares to Australia via Asia with Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and Qantas.

Full details of the authorisation are available from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Update: BA has confirmed that the expanded joint business will take effect from 29 May 2020.

Qantas Postpones Launch Of Non-Stop Sydney Flights

Qantas has postponed plans to order Airbus A350-1000 aircraft capable of flying non-stop from London to the East Coast of Australia.

London Air Travel » Australia

Qantas Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft CGI Image
Qantas Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft CGI Image (Image Credit: Airbus / Qantas)

Qantas has postponed indefinitely plans to order aircraft capable of flying from London Heathrow to Sydney non-stop.

Project Sunrise was the name given to one of the most hyped aircraft tenders by an airline in history.

After receiving bids from Airbus and Boeing Qantas had selected an ultra long-range variant of the Airbus A350-1000 as its preferred aircraft. Qantas was due to confirm its order with Airbus by the end of April 2020 to secure delivery of aircraft by 2023.

Qantas Project Sunrise
Qantas Project Sunrise (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

This project has now been postponed indefinitely. That is not to say it won’t ultimately happen. Qantas viewed the ability to operate non-stop flights between Europe and Australia as a significant source of competitive advantage. Its rivals in Asia and the Middle East do not have the traffic rights and European airlines do not have the inclination to operate a small sub-fleet of ultra long-haul aircraft. Like all airlines, Qantas simply doesn’t know how long it will take for demand to recover and what restrictions will be remain on international travel.

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Qantas readies for non-stop London – Perth flights

Qantas has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in advance of the launch of non-stop flights between London and Perth in March 2018.

London Air Travel » Australia

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Great Southern Land
Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Great Southern Land (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

In a little under six months Qantas will launch direct flights from London Heathrow to Perth. If the route is a success it will herald the start of a new era in aviation with direct flights to Brisbane and Sydney likely to follow.

Preparations for the launch moved a step closer this week as Qantas first Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner arrived in Sydney bearing the name “Great Southern Land”. Whilst Qantas is a little late getting on the Dreamliner bus, the airline is seizing the opportunity to reassert itself in international travel.

Qantas’ Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner will operate on scheduled international flights on Melbourne to Los Angeles from Friday 15 December 2017. London Heathrow to Perth to follow on Sunday 25 March 2018, by which time Qantas will have four Dreamliners in its fleet. As is par the course for new aircraft types, Qantas will operate the Dreamliner on selected domestic flights in Australia for crew training and familiarisation purposes.
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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.

London Air Travel » Australia

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 to launch non-stop London Heathrow – Perth flights from Saturday 24 March 2018

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

London Air Travel » Australia

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

London Air Travel » Australia

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

London Air Travel » Australia

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

London Air Travel » Australia

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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Singapore Airlines introduces one stop link between London and Canberra

London Air Travel » Australia

Singapore Airlines is to introduce a one stop link between London Heathrow and Canberra, Australia with the launch of the first international airline service to Canberra from its hub in Singapore from Tuesday 20 September 2016.

Singapore Airlines will fly from Singapore to Canberra four times weekly.  

The flight will then continue from Canberra to Wellington, New Zealand.

The flight will be operated with a 266 seat Boeing 777-200 aircraft in a two class, business class (38 seats) and economy class (228 seats) configuration.  

First class and premium economy class will not be available.

Whilst it is true to say that Australia’s capital Canberra does not top the list of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia and has long been overshadowed by its sexier/smarter rivals Sydney and Melbourne, the route will no doubt attract a lot of Government traffic.

Flights will be on sale at Singapore Airlines.

Singapore – Canberra – Wellington

Flight SQ291 Depart Singapore 23:00 – Arrive Canberra 08:35 (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday)

Flight SQ291 Depart Canberra 09:50 – Arrive Wellington 15:05 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)

Wellington – Canberra – Singapore

Flight SQ292 Depart Wellington 20:15 – Arrive Canberra 22:05  (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)

Flight SQ292 Depart Canberra 23:30 – Arrive Singapore 05:50  (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)

Flight times are subject to change when Daylight Saving Time is adopted.