Qantas extends Norfolk Island flights from Sydney, Brisbane

Qantas will continue serving Norfolk Island until at least late August, but Air New Zealand is poised to return.

By Chris C., May 20 2021
Qantas extends Norfolk Island flights from Sydney, Brisbane

Qantas' flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Norfolk Island will continue until at least August 29 2021, rather than winding down in June as initially planned.

These temporary routes for Qantas – which took off in March, as a short-term replacement for AirNZ – see six return flights per week running from the Australian mainland.

"Air New Zealand remains the long-term underwritten supplier of air services to Norfolk Island," explains Eric Hutchinson, Administrator of Norfolk Island.

"However, the current impacts of COVID-19 on Air New Zealand’s crewing arrangements and service delivery, mean that the extension of the current arrangement with Qantas is necessary to ensure the continuity of air services to Norfolk Island."

As an external territory of Australia, travel to Norfolk Island isn't subject to Australia's broad international 'travel ban', despite its location 2-2.5 hours east of the continent.

Nonetheless, flights operate from the international terminals in Sydney and Brisbane.

This opens the door to Sydney's Qantas First Lounge for all lounge-eligible travellers right now, spanning business class guests, along with Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge cardholders, as well as Qantas Club members.

Like the flights themselves, this is a temporary measure while Qantas' international business class lounge remains closed in Sydney – while up in Brisbane (where there's no First Lounge), the go-to lounge is the catch-all business class space.

Passports are not required for travel to Norfolk Island, with an Australian driver’s licence or proof of age card sufficient ID: although passports are “preferred” by the Australian Government, to help expedite passenger processing at each end.

“With international borders closed, we know Australians are looking for new holiday experiences and Norfolk Island is a destination that has so much to offer,” Qantas Domestic & International CEO Andrew David said previously.

“We’ll be promoting these new flights to millions of our frequent flyers across the country – with seamless connections from our large domestic network through Sydney or Brisbane – who will have the opportunity to earn and redeem points on flights to Norfolk Island.”

As Norfolk Island has not been declared a 'hotspot' by New South Wales or Queensland, there are no restrictions on entering these states from Norfolk Island, and thus, no compulsory quarantine.

Qantas Norfolk Island flight schedules, price

With one-way fares in economy starting at $412 from Sydney or $390 from Brisbane, flights are scheduled as below:

Route

Days served

Flight number

Flight times

Duration

Sydney to Norfolk Island

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

QF179

9:30am-1:10pm

2hrs 40min

Norfolk Island to Sydney

Monday, Wednesday, Saturday

QF180

2:10pm-4pm

2hrs 50min

Brisbane to Norfolk Island

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

QF183

9:30am-1:45pm

2hrs 15min

Norfolk Island to Brisbane

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

QF184

2:10pm-2:35pm

2hrs 25min

These routes are all served by Qantas’ Boeing 737 jets, offering both business class and economy.

Just be mindful that as Norfolk Island isn’t a destination normally served by Qantas, the airline has no lounge available prior to the return sector departing Norfolk Island.

Passengers booking using frequent flyer points can expect to part with 55,200 Qantas Points for a return business class ticket, or 24,000 Qantas Points for a return economy ticket from either city.

Taxes, fess and carrier charges are payable on those reward bookings, totalling $250 return from Sydney, or $221 return from Brisbane, in addition to the points required.

Duty-free shopping for Norfolk Island travellers

A less-publicised perk of travelling from Norfolk Island is that passengers can make use of the ‘international’ tax-free shopping allowances and duty-free alcohol privileges on their return to the Australian mainland.

This is distinctly different from other Australian 'domestic' routes operating through international terminals, where an orange sticker is appended to the boarding pass, and duty-free shopping is barred.

That means each adult traveller can carry:

  • Up to $900 of GST-free shopping, plus
  • Up to 2.25 litres of duty-free alcohol, plus
  • Up to 25 grams of tobacco, plus an open packet

As well, that $900 allowance can cover general goods purchased on Norfolk Island, or items bought on the Australian mainland prior to travel for which a TRS GST refund claim has been made, which can be lodged upon departure from Sydney or Brisbane.

Read: Seven easy ways to speed through your TRS airport GST refunds

The initial launch of Qantas’ Norfolk Island flights followed several ad-hoc repatriation flights made to the Island, due to Air New Zealand’s initial suspension of its own Brisbane-Norfolk Island route.

The Kiwi carrier normally operates this domestic service using a plane and crew that arrives into Brisbane from Auckland.

However, those Auckland-Brisbane flights had then been paused due to Queensland Government restrictions on New Zealand arrivals, having a knock-on effect for Norfolk Island.

Air New Zealand flights between Brisbane and Auckland have since resumed.

Also read: Gov't to subsidise half-price Qantas, Virgin holiday flights

Chris C.

A Brisbane-based contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 366

I don’t understand why Norfolk is not a permanent port on the QF domestic network anyway, Lord Lowe Island seems to work with a daily flight. Even if it’s Govt subsidised why wouldn’t the AU Govt pay Qantas to serve Norfolk rather than Air NZ?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 205

I think the contract is chosen by the Norfolk Island Gov themselves....and im guessing Air NZ was cheaper than QF

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 366

Fair enough, and I guess that’s also why it gets such low promotional coverage, if any at all. I think with Qantas flying to Norfolk it will raise its profile as a destination, just like Qantas does to Lord Howe Island and Hamilton Island etc. 

ajd
ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2014

Total posts 52

I definitely think QF is in a better position than NZ to promote the destination to Australians and raise its profile.

ajd
ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2014

Total posts 52

The "Norfolk Island Government" no longer exists as of the abolition of self-government several years ago - the contract is awarded by the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure. Even so - the federal government is required to seek best value for money rather than supporting one supplier over another for other reasons.

12 Feb 2013

Total posts 49

They may as well consider flights to Christmas and Coco Islands whilst they're at it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Feb 2014

Total posts 20

If only..not sure 737 would have the legs. Or fueling capacity..would be a great winter destination. I would think price would be outrageous...

17 Mar 2021

Total posts 2

A Qantas 737 would have no problems operating to Christmas Island or Cocos Islands.

Alliance F70's, VA A320's and Toll 737's already operate there.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 252

Nothing available for Business reward flights  at least on dates i searched

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2585

I had difficulty finding these at first but noticed that Norfolk Island searches behave like 'international' searches, in that business class rewards aren't shown next to economy: you have to change the tab to "Business" at the top to see them. As well, the reward seats on the flight back to Australia don't appear for selection until after you've chosen a reward seat on the flight out of Australia, if you're doing a return flight search.

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 175

WOW a 25min turnaround for a 737 in the case of the Bris - NI timetable.  Must be a record for a legacy carrier.  Even Ryanair schedules in a min of 35min.

It will be interesting to see how arrivals in the international terminal would work as everything is set up for hotel quarantine and they would be the only passengers who can walk out like the old days.  

17 Mar 2021

Total posts 2

Don't forget people arriving from New Zealand. I'd assume it would be a similar process.

ajd
ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2014

Total posts 52

The NZ flights to Norfolk were still running even before the one-way NZ bubble launched, they've been managing it ever since the border first closed. And in Perth they also have to manage flights to Christmas and Cocos via the international terminal.

ajd
ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2014

Total posts 52

I've just booked a return J ticket - I've been wanting to go to Norfolk for a while, but the high fares of the Air NZ flights put me off, while I'm sitting on loads of QF points that I haven't found a good excuse to spend. (This also means that along with my trip to Christmas and Cocos later this year I'll have visited all the inhabited external territories...)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2020

Total posts 24

Are these flights replacing Air NZ or supplementing?

ajd
ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2014

Total posts 52

per https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/administrator/media/2021/ni-a-mr-202120.aspx - QF is replacing NZ on this service for the 3 month period, with NZ remaining as the long term supplier

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 105

Why do they have to use international terminals for what is declared to be a domestic flight? Seems overkill logistically and inconvenient, particularly for passengers transiting within Australia.

And if the domestic terminal could be used there would be lounges, too...

That's a very good question, and I was wondering the same thing myself. As this isn't actually an 'international' flight, why can't it use the domestic terminals where at least there are lounges and some other cafes and food outlets open?

ajd
ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2014

Total posts 52

This is something that the Norfolk Island Administrator has been asking for, as it reduces the operational costs for the airlines significantly. I believe the reason for the current situation is that even though Norfolk has been reintegrated with the Australian immigration system (it used to have a separate immigration and visa system from the mainland) it still sits outside the Australian quarantine and customs zones, so passengers are still required to undergo border checks (and on the flip side, you can shop duty free and use TRS). Same applies to Cocos and Christmas Islands which also use international terminals despite being technically domestic.

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 105

Thank you

05 Nov 2014

Total posts 8

There would be no difference as there are lounges in both Brisbane and Sydney Domestic and International terminals. The article points out that there is no lounge on Norfolk Island !  

ajd
ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2014

Total posts 52

@rodlo: in March, when the parent comment was posted, the NZ bubble hadn't opened yet and all international terminal lounges were still closed.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2020

Total posts 24

It’s been from International for as long as I can remember.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 378

this will be the first time Qantas have done Norfolk Island in close to 45 years.they gave it up to East West and later Ansett till 2001/2002 and some local airline of theirs till NZ took over in recent times.It's a place I would consider a trip to if the price is right.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2020

Total posts 24

Ok it seems as if QF are taking over NZ flights.  Just had our booking transferred from NZ to QF.

British Airways - Executive Club

10 Apr 2015

Total posts 14

Something worth noting - the return meal (Norfolk to Sydney or Brisbane) is just some cookies - in Business and Economy - as Norfolk Airport can't offer food for planes. It does make Business less appealing on the return flight. 

ajd
ajd

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Nov 2014

Total posts 52

That was not true when I flew NLK-SYD in J on QF180 last Friday - I got sausages with mash potato, peas and a slice of bread. I don't know what they were serving in Y.

Presumably they loaded the meals in Sydney, as you say NLK obviously doesn't have catering facilities, so perhaps there may be circumstances where they can't load the return meals in SYD.

British Airways - Executive Club

10 Apr 2015

Total posts 14

Ah that is an improvement - I was flying form Sydney (but did think why on earth not bring them with you!). Good to know for a future trip. 


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