Qantas gets the green light for non-stop flights from Sydney to Seoul

The Flying Kangaroo will soon make the long hop to South Korea.

By David Flynn, May 17 2022
Qantas gets the green light for non-stop flights from Sydney to Seoul

It’s all systems go for Qantas’ flights from Sydney to Seoul, with the airline receiving formal approval from Australian authorities well ahead of its inaugural service on December 10.

The International Air Services Commission has now rubber-stamped the route to be flown by both Qantas and its low-cost arm Jetstar on a five-year basis through to May 2027.

  • Jetstar will be the first to fly, with a Boeing 787 taking off thrice-weekly between Sydney and Seoul from November 2; business class is the place to be on this 11-hour Jetstar 787 trip, even if the seats are more akin to premium economy
  • December 10 sees Qantas follow with four Sydney-Seoul flights a week on its workhorse Airbus A330 featuring 28 lie-flat Business Suites, although there’s no premium economy cabin between business class and economy

South Korea, which recently reopened to tourists – including visa-free travel for Australians – has been on Qantas’ shortlist for some time.

“South Korea is Australia’s fourth largest trading partner and Koreans see Sydney as one of the top tourism destinations” says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

“With expected strong business, premium leisure and low-cost travel demand on the route, we see an opportunity for both Qantas and Jetstar to fly on the route.”

In addition to its own attractions of a rich cultural history, vibrant nightlife and incredible food, South Korea country could also prove an appealing alternative to long-time favourite Hong Kong for Australians looking to add a fresh Asian flavour to their travels.

Qantas says South Korean travellers consistently rank Australia as the top destination they want to visit.

This return to Seoul – a route which Qantas axed in January 2008 – will put the Flying Kangaroo in competition with Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, ahead of a $2.2 billion merger which will see the Asiana brand disappear from the skies.

For much of 2022, Qantas’ expansion will be primarily driven by a focus on leisure travel and the ‘visiting friends and relatives’ market, although the business travel rebound isn’t far behind.

Seoul joins Delhi, Rome and Bangalore as the newest pins pushed into the Qantas network map.

Flights from Melbourne to Delhi began in December 2021, with Sydney-Bangalore starting in September; and the Sydney-Perth-Rome service will launch on June 22.

Another new non-stop route between Melbourne and Dallas Forth Worth will open on December 2, while expectations remain high for those long-awaited Qantas flights between Perth and Johannesburg to complement its Sydney-Johannesburg route.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2017

Total posts 9

Surely Melbourne-Seoul would’ve been the better option. They would have a monopoly on the route. 

Or maybe the people who work at Qantas, who have all the data at their fingertips and plenty of experience at this, have a better idea of route economics. A 'monopoly route' only works if there's enough demand in the first place. I think a lot of Koreans in Sydney might still fly with a Korean airline but Qantas is probably going to spike demand from Aussies.

10 May 2019

Total posts 5

Are QANTAS launching thrice weekly flights to Seoul in addition to Jetstar? The frequency is not clear in your article. Also, QANTAS stopped flying from Sydney to Delhi at the end of March but is still flying there from Melbourne.

This is all very welcome news that Qantas are re-emerging into many previous and new international destinations but when do we see some additional international departures and arrivals in and out of Brisbane ?

All very "Sydney-Centric" with many of these destinations.

26 Aug 2019

Total posts 4

I'm from Brisbane so would love more Qantas services from here internationally but the reality of the situation is there is more demand from Sydney and revenue to be made. Brisbane could potentially support QF to Seoul as KE has always done well from here but apart from our current Asian destinations the only other Asian destinations I could potentially see would be Taipei, Osaka and/or Bali.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 320

Qantas from BNE to Bali would be at least a 737, supplementing the JQ widebody service.  Can't see the QF widebodies on a tourist-heavy route that when revenue is better made elsewhere

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 469

Back in the 90s, Qantas used to fly the B747 to Bali!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1201

They did in the '80s.  I did it a couple of times but, back then, QF only had 747s.

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 128

If QF put a decent international standard Business class seat instead of the mediocre domestic seat (and pitch) on routes such as this they would pick up a lot of the premium leisure traffic. As it stands, if you want to lie down on the overnight flight back to Australia, you have to use an Asian airline (e.g. SQ) and go via their home hub. Hence my argument that the QF medium range narrowbody replacement for the 737 (the A320 family, whichever version/s they get) must have horizontal lie flat J class seats.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 335

Not really since most or many many of our permanent high value high scale residents live in  Sydney's eastern burbs

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

Is QF losing their OZ codeshare with the OZ/KE merger?

04 Aug 2018

Total posts 6

It would appear so. Korean media outlets have made it seem that way at least. 

KW72 Banned
KW72 Banned

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 241

What is the point of launching new flights if you can’t even pick up the phone for existing flights? Five hours on hold today to follow up on a refund from four months ago. 

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 462

I suppose it's a lot easier than say the solitary existing other options of hubbing via another asian hub.what will schedules be like?

19 Apr 2013

Total posts 20

Any idea of what lounge Qantas Business class passengers will have access to?

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

Oneworld members that currently fly to ICN are using OZ and KE lounges. It doesn't look like there is (currently) a lounge operated by a oneworld member at ICN.

There has been talk of the alliance opening their own lounges, with ICN on the reported shortlist. There has been nothing to confirm if or when that may happen.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2012

Total posts 14

Has anyone managed to book a paid fare in JQ Business Class between SYD-ICN (JQ47)? It appears that they are not currently for sale.. JQ website advises that business is only available on long haul 787 services, which is what it is..

They have had award availability. I booked ICN-SYD (JQ48) using QF points.

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