Border restrictions mean that the Perth to London service will not be flown until mid-June at the earliest.
Qantas has announced that it will keep flying its double daily direct flights between Australia and London via Darwin, due to ongoing uncertainty around the reopening of the West Australian border and testing requirements for passengers transiting through Singapore. The airline currently operates daily flights from both Melbourne and Sydney to London (via Darwin) on its 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
When international travel restarted in November as Western Australia remained closed, Qantas temporarily rerouted its Perth to London service via Darwin. The Northern Territory’s capital was set up as an alternative hub, allowing passengers to arrive in Darwin or transit through the city as they returned home to Australia or traveled overseas to reunite with loved ones.
The Perth to London service was scheduled to return to Perth in April, but with no confirmed reopening date for Western Australia, the route via Darwin will now remain in place until at least June 2022. Qantas will also continue to operate the Sydney to London flight via Darwin instead of Singapore, as the current routing allows for more streamlined transit arrangements.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement, “This extension through to at least mid-June means the Top End has several months to properly leverage the opening up of Australia’s borders to all tourists. It’s a great opportunity to encourage thousands of visitors to stop off in Darwin to see what the NT has to offer.”
In related news, Qantas is establishing a new jet base in Darwin, with at least four Embraer E190 deployed on flights of up to five hours. Featuring 97 seats across business and economy class, the aircraft is already being utilized on three new domestic routes from Darwin to Canberra, Cairns, and Townsville, while Darwin–Dili will become QantasLink’s first international route flown aboard an E190.
In tandem with the Australian government, Qantas has been operating weekly flights between Darwin and Dili since February 2021 to maintain critical passenger and freight links with Timor-Leste. This service will now become a permanent commercial route with three flights per week, ramping up to five flights each week from July.
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