British Airways will suspend its daily BA15/BA16 flight to Sydney via Singapore between April 9 and April 22, with the short-term axe also falling on Hong Kong and possibly Singapore: read our latest story for more details.
That ban, announced by the Singapore Government on Sunday March 22 and in place from Tuesday March 24, caught airlines and passengers by surprise.
British Airways' solution, developed with the support of the Singapore authority, is for the BA15 and BA16 flights to make a 'technical fuel stop' rather than the more conventional transit stop.
This will allow the flights to refuel, take on new crew and catering, while passengers booked through to London remain on board – although Singapore-bound travellers can leave the plane, while passengers doing just the Singapore-London leg can also board.
It's far from standard procedure, but both BA and the Singapore Government are keen to do what they can to help people get home.
Qantas, which had already planned to suspend its daily Sydney-Singapore-London Airbus A380 service by week's end when the airline grounds all international flights, chose to have the superjumbo stop and refuel at Darwin – Australia's northern-most capital city – before continuing its non-stop trek to Heathrow.