Darwin now has Qantas’ longest and shortest international flights

Set out for a 50-minute jaunt or a 17-hour marathon.

By David Flynn, February 17 2022
Darwin now has Qantas’ longest and shortest international flights

Darwin is staking a minor claim to fame, with the NT capital now hosting both the longest and shortest flights on the international Qantas network.

The shortest flight is a quick 50-minute hop to Dili, the capital of East Timor. Qantas this week committed to up to five flights per week on its new Embraer E190 jets.

Sporting both business class and economy cabins, the Darwin-based E-Jets will also connect the Top End with Alice Springs, Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns and Townsville.

And the longest flight? This is, of course, the 17-hour trek to London, which runs twice daily – from Sydney and Melbourne – on board a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Qantas chose Darwin as a temporary replacement for the respective Singapore and Perth stopovers of is Sydney-London and Melbourne-London Kangaroo Routes: the former due to Singapore’s ongoing transit restrictions, and the later due to Western Australia’s decision to keep its borders shut for an indefinite period .

“To streamline transit arrangements for passengers, Qantas will also continue to operate the Sydney to London flight via Darwin instead of through Singapore until June 2022,” the airline says.

This week also saw the return of Qantas' second-longest flight – the 15-hour journey from Sydney to Dallas Fort-Worth – which was the airline’s longest route when it launched in 2011, until the Perth-London service stole the crown in 2018.

But even longer flights lay ahead, with Qantas soon expected to give the go-ahead to its ambitious Project Sunrise plan for non-stop services from Sydney and Melbourne to the likes of New York, London and Paris to launch in 2024-2025.

Passengers will need to strap themselves in for a marathon of up to 20 hours, although these globe-striding Airbus A350-1000 jets will make the ride a lot more comfortable thanks to what Qantas CEO Alan Joyce described to Executive Traveller as all-new “super first class” suites and business class seats.

“Given the nature of the routes there is definitely a market for first class,” he said, adding “it will be the best product we’ve ever put on an aircraft.”

There will also be a fresh take on premium economy and a wider economy seat with a few extra inches of legroom, along with designated stretching areas in a cabin ‘designed for ultra-long haul’ flying.

“That’s all part of the proposition, this aircraft is going to be designed for 19-20 hour flights,” Joyce said.

Additional reporting by Matt Lennon


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1425

Now that WA is opening in March qantas must be pushing for a good deal to return the London flight in June. They may do Rome and SA first.

02 Feb 2022

Total posts 4

Given that WA has already postponed once there is nothing to suggest they won't postpone a second time. If Darwin successfully demonstrates that it can handle the increased traffic and keep passengers happy, unless WA puts a very good deal on the table why would, or should, Qantas even consider returning in the near to short term? The MEL-PER-LHR run is very similar to the MEL-DRW-LHR time wise and the SYD-PER-LHR is actually 40 to 45 minutes longer than the SYD-DRW-LHR. I would have also thought that changing the focus from Perth to Darwin would open up a lot more short flights to SEA. Opening and using Darwin as a gateway to SEA may even de-congest Sydney a little (possibly providing a financial benefit too). I currently have to fly Adelaide to Sydney to fly to SEA which does seem a little illogical when looking at a map.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1425

Dawn the only issue there is that 40-60% of the London passengers originated in Perth. Now they have to connect in Darwin. Perth in the end will offer a reasonable deal and qantas will take it.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 106

Glad to see Qantas expanding their international flights out of Darwin. Regrettably their arguments with Perth Airport has meant that Melbourne travellers can no longer travel directly to Darwin ( apart from a very early departure time) and must rely on 'convenient' transits via Adelaide and or Sydney. Trust the settlement with Perth Airport will see a resumption of the Melb- Perth-LHR flights and regular direct flights Melb. -Darwin.

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