Qantas plans four flights a day to London

The Kangaroo Route is going to get even busier in the years to come…

By David Flynn, September 1 2022
Qantas plans four flights a day to London

Should all go according to plan, Qantas will end up offering travellers a choice between four daily flights to London by the time its non-stop Project Sunrise jets take wing.

That’s twice the current number of Kangaroo Route services, with the airline counting on a substantial increase in demand – especially driven by the appeal of those non-stop flights – and fuelled by overseas residents visiting Australia as well as Aussies heading abroad.

Headlining that roster will of course be those direct Sydney-London and Melbourne-London flights, part of the ambitious Project Sunrise from late 2025.

The 18-hour marathons on Qantas’ all-new Airbus A350 jets will feature the airline’s latest take on first class with six elegant fully-enclosed private suites featuring a seperate armchair and bed.

Less is known about the A350’s business class, although early renders of the A350 cabin hint that sliding privacy screens are on the cards for at least some of those 52 business class seats.

Qantas has long maintained that these non-stop flights won’t come at the expense of the traditional stopover route between Sydney and London via Singapore.

Not all passengers want to spend 18 hours on a single flight – many prefer to break their trip, stretch their legs and enjoy a respite at the lounge.

The stopover route is also expected to be less expensive than the direct flights, where tickets will be priced at a premium over standard rates.

That Singapore stopover will still hold plenty of appeal, especially with a visit to the Qantas First Lounge.
That Singapore stopover will still hold plenty of appeal, especially with a visit to the Qantas First Lounge.

Then there’s the long-legged Perth-London flight, which served as a prelude to the east coast Project Sunrise service when launched in March 2018.

In mid-2019, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce told Executive Traveller that the ongoing success of the Perth-London flights guaranteed their survival in the post-Sunrise era.

“What we’re seeing, which is really encouraging, is how well Perth-London is doing, particularly with our passenger traffic… over 75% originates or terminates in Perth for that flight.”

“So what that has shown is that we can do Project Sunrise in addition – we wouldn’t take Perth-London out.”

And this west coast version of the Kangaroo Route  – sometimes nicknamed the Quokka Route, after the state’s small but ever-smiling marsupial – will be upgraded from the Boeing 787 to an Airbus A350 in 2026.

While the A350 will have only two more seats from tip to tail, there’ll be a far higher number of seats in both the business and premium economy cabins, along with those swish first class suites, to sate a premium-heavy market.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Aug 2022

Total posts 13

For me the convenience of literally being able to be in Piccadilly in 20 hours over rules the Singapore or Perth stopover. Hopefully with all of those business seats will be cheaper as well. The jet lag is tough when you don’t get upgraded.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 374

In the early, mid 2000s QF operated mix B744/A380 operated QF1, QF9, QF29 & QF31 daily from Oz to LHR. Yep x4 daily flights 20ish years ago. 

01 Jun 2017

Total posts 15

A little recap:  QF used to fly its 747s four times daily to LHR back in days before A380 entered operations.

QF1:  SYD-BKK-LHR

QF9: MEL-SIN-LHR

QF31: SYD-SIN-LHR

QF29: MEL-HKG-LHR

It would be good to see the following once the four flights are reinstated:

QF1:  SYD-LHR (direct) on A350

QF9:  MEL-LHR (direct) on A350

QF31: SYD-SIN-LHR on A380

QF13?: MEL or BNE => PER-LHR  on A350

This should give plenty of seats for the kangaroo and quokka route. 

A380 was meant to be hub buster, unfortunately this is short lived. So the hubs are back:

Hub 1:  SIN:   With lots of flights from other Australian cities flying into SIN, it would not be difficult for passengers to join QF31 to LHR. Jetstar Asia's hub is in SIN also enables passengers from Jetstar destinations to connect onto QF31. Passengers also able to join other OneWorld airlines in SIN e.g. Fin Air, British Airways, etc.  

Hub 2:  With lots of domestic flights into PER, it gives plenty of opportunities for passengers from other cities to do the PER-LHR and PER-FCO (Rome) flights.  PER could further expand its direct connectivity to other European cities e.g. CDG, FRA. 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1446

I think the Singapore one may be a 787 as they may have an over supply of seats 650seats on A350s, an A380 with nearly 500 seats would put it close to 1200 a day, from around 1,000 pre Covid.

08 May 2020

Total posts 41

Great news!  The London route has been so busy over the past few months.

I hope they will look at improving Brisbane too.  I'd love to avoid doing the 2 to 3 hr domestic shuffle at Sydney - the transit bus is so full of misery.  The QF international connections via Singapore are rarely affordable and no Oneworld alternatives via TYO, HKG, KUL at present.  Recently i've had to switch to Singapore Airlines as it's a lot less hassle and cheaper.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 144

@mt4739

Completely agree, mate! Wish QF would show a bit more love for BNE now that its getting jets with 'longer legs'. This is one of the reasons I turned to SQ way back in 2012: SQ is cheaper, more convenient, more connections and it goes without saying that SQ quality cannot be matched by QF. It was a no brainer! I've stuck with them for a decade. Not gonna change now. But I do wish QF would do something, if only for the sake of other pax who don't have the option to switch to SQ like you and I did.

drb
drb

14 Jul 2020

Total posts 4

Perth - premium heavy market? Surprised they dont keep the 787 on that route, will the 350 really improve the economics with the additional of First class and/or reductions in fuel? Interesting.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 33

Honestly, 18-hour straight on an airplane is an endurance test, even if you fly business, let alone kettle class.

Perhaps, there are people who really cannot spare that few extra hours layover in Singapore. But if you have the time, I just cannot comprehend why one would do such a punishing marathon.

But perhaps, Qantas marketing strategy is to push customers towards those routes.

Recently, I tried to look for tickets to Europe on Qantas website; surprise surprise, most flights (if not all) sold were routed through the PER-LHR route; although there are perfectly acceptable alternative routing on that day, e.g. via Singapore to London, or Singapore to Helsinki, or even through Dubai. Perhaps it was just my luck that day, but the cynic in me thinks otherwise.

11 Jul 2022

Total posts 1

You do get a lovely cup of tea in kettle class though! 

05 May 2016

Total posts 630

The issue with the stopover at SIN though is that you don't get very long if flying on QF1/QF2 the whole way especially if the flight into SIN is running late and looking to make up time. If you fly from say MEL or BNE to SIN and have a longer gap between flights then you'd have more time to enjoy the lounge.

12 Aug 2022

Total posts 4

I'll be really interested to see what premium they charge for direct flights. I've heard 25% which at todays rates would put Qantas at around 10k for a business saver fare. Think I'd rather go Qatar / Emirates / Singapore  for 8k or even Finnair for closer to 6k and spend the saved $ on a hotel upgrade.

Are they charging a premium just because they can? Or is it required due to fuel loads etc... 

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 657

Well I can guarantee any premium Qantas charges wont be for the food etc.  JAL, Qatar, Finnair are much better bets.


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