Qantas says it is looking at using Darwin to operate services between London
and Perth as uncertainty remains over the reopening of certain international flights
The airline says that while it plans to restart international services gradually from 18 December 2021 onwards when Australia is expected to have reached a vaccination threshold of 80 per cent, it is pushing its direct Perth-London service back to at least April 2022 because of the current expectations about restrictions lifting in Western Australia (WA). It will instead look at routing daily Melbourne-London services via Darwin and is in “detailed discussions” with both the government of the Northern Territory and Darwin Airport.
Qantas has been using Darwin as a hub for repatriation flights to
various destinations across Europe, Asia and the Middle East over the past 12
If the discussions do not bear fruit, the airline says it will instead
route Melbourne-London services via Singapore.
Services between London and Sydney via Singapore are due to restart on 19 December.
Domestically, the airline is planning to bring back services between
Melbourne and Sydney from 5 November, nearly a month earlier than planned.
Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said: “At this stage, WA doesn’t intend to
open to international travel until sometime next year, so we’ll unfortunately
have to temporarily move our Perth-London service until at least April 2022.
Instead of operating from Melbourne to Perth and then on to London as it
usually does, this flight will operate from Melbourne to London via either
Darwin or Singapore, depending on conversations we’re having with the NT in the
coming weeks. We look forward to operating this flight via Perth again when
“The pace of the vaccine rollout means we’re still on track for
international flying to restart from 18 December onwards. People are clearly
keen to travel. We saw a 175 per cent spike in web searches in the week after
we announced our plans and we’ve seen strong bookings for December and January
for our flights to London, Los Angeles and Singapore in particular.”
“The key factor in determining the ongoing demand level for
international flying will be what the quarantine arrangements are for
Australians when they return. The seven day home quarantine trial in New South
Wales is a great step forward and we’re hoping the system evolves quickly for
vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries to not have to quarantine on
arrival, particularly given Australia itself is on track to have one of the
highest vaccination rates in the world. That’s fast becoming the standard
between many countries overseas.”