British Airways will suspend flights to Sydney from April 9, with the short-term axe also falling on Hong Kong and Singapore.
The airline, which only last week came to agreement with Singaporean authorities to continue its London-Singapore-Sydney service despite a ban on transit passengers at Changi Airport, is now advising passengers booked on flight BA16 from Sydney that "due to the continuing changes in travel restrictions, we'd like to give you the opportunity to rebook onto an earlier flight, as we will no longer be flying this route from 09 April."
Similar emails have been sent to travellers on BA's daily London-Hong service – which from this week is being downsized from an Airbus A380 to a Boeing 777-300ER – saying "we won't be flying this route from 05 April", with than cancellation stretching through to April 25.
In addition, British Airways' latest schedule shows no direct flights between London and Singapore (BA11/BA12) from April 8.
That schedule indicates London-Singapore flights will return from April 22, but only as the daily BA15/BA16 service of the Boeing 777-300ER, with the Singapore-Sydney leg being reinstated on April 30, while Lonon-Hong Kong will return on April 25.
British Airways is now moving to rebook passengers on those cancelled flights onto Qatar Airways, which continues to offer daily flights from Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong to London via its Doha hub.
Tighter border controls
Australia now requires that all arriving passengers spend two weeks in Government-funded isolation at a hotel, while Australian citizens are banned from flying overseas unless they qualify for an exemption based on a handful of categories and special circumstances.
Executive Traveller has approached British Airways for comment.
In an update emailed to British travellers over the weekend the British High Commissioner to Australia, Vicki Treadell, said "we are working tirelessly with airlines to ensure planes keep flying, as well as with the Australian Government and international partners to keep commercial routes to the UK open."
"We are liaising with Qantas to keep flights operational," Treadell said, and "working closely with Qatar to operate as many flights as possible" in reference to Qatar Airways' increased capacity from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, as well as a new service from Brisbane.
"This will drastically increase their capacity," Treadall adds, and suggests that Brits wanting to head home should "keep an eye on our social media channels for updated information", including UK in Australia on Facebook and @UKinAustralia on Twitter.
BA is expected to draw down further flights as it shrinks its network in line with reduced worldwide demand, and has this week consolidated all London flights to Heathrow Terminal 5.