Qantas’ new direct flights between Perth and Johannesburg will finally take off as planned on November 1, but will only run until March 2023, when the route will be “suspended until further notice.”
And across those four months when the Airbus A330 is darting back and forth across the Indian Ocean, the QF66 from Jo’burg to Perth will split its arrival between Perth Airport’s Terminal 3 and Terminal 1 – although the Perth to Jo’burg flight QF65 will always leave from T3.
A bit confused? That’s understandable, so here’s what you need to know.
From 1 November 2022 until 15 January 2023, QF66 from Johannesburg will land at Perth T3, the airline says.
“Passengers with a connecting Qantas flight will clear customs and immigration in T3 so they can easily connect to their onward service. Passengers finishing their journey in Perth will be bussed from T3 to Terminal 1 (T1) to clear customs in T1.”
From 16 January 2023 until 25 March 2023, QF66 from Johannesburg will land at Perth T1 – the airport’s official international terminal – “where all passengers will go through customs and immigration. Passengers with onward Qantas flights will be bussed across to T3.”
And 25 March is when the plug will be pulled on Perth-Johannesburg: “as a result of these constraints and the operational workarounds required, the Johannesburg service will be suspended from 25 March 2023 until further notice. “
As first reported by Executive Traveller, Qantas suspended selling tickets for the new Perth-Johannesburg flights in mid-October, less than two weeks before the inaugural flight from Perth was slated to lift off on November 1.
A Qantas spokesperson at the time said the airline was liaising “with Australian Border Force and other government departments on the Customs and Biosecurity requirements for these flights.”
Ins a statement issued today, the airline says adjustments to the inbound flight QF66 were made “in response to concerns from Australian border agencies about managing border security and biosecurity screening requirements for these flights at Terminal 3.”
While Qantas planned to have the flights depart from and land at T3, which hosts all Qantas’ domestic and international flights at Perth, “infrastructure constraints at Terminal 3 make it difficult to deliver the levels of border security and biosecurity screening required to process passengers from some destinations, including South Africa.”
Qantas International CEO Andrew David said the T1/T3 split came about “after detailed discussion with the border agencies… this is about balancing the needs of our customers and operations with the important job our border agencies do in screening passengers and managing risk at the border.”
The upside, David said, was “that all our Johannesburg flights will leave from T3, which means passengers flying in from other parts of Australia to meet this service will have a seamless experience and eligible passengers can access our lounge.”
The other new international Qantas route from Perth to Jakarta – due to launch on November 30 – has also being scrubbed outright owing to “the same constraints,” the airline says.
Instead, Qantas plans to increase its Perth-Singapore services from seven flights a week to 10 flights per week, all through T3.
When the Perth-Jakarta flights were announced in June 2022, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce noted the route marked “the first time that Qantas has operated the route which will support the growing trade and tourism links between Australia and Indonesia” and was “expected to be popular with travellers connecting to other major Indonesian cities such as Surabaya and Medan.”
Both the Johannesburg and Jakarta flights were supported by the Western Australian Government’s Reconnect WA package.