Qantas to fly Sydney-London via Darwin instead of Singapore

For one month, that stop-over at Singapore is replaced by a dawdle at Darwin...

By David Flynn, October 1 2021
Qantas to fly Sydney-London via Darwin instead of Singapore

Qantas will swap its long-standing Singapore stopover for a bit of downtime in Darwin when the airline resumes Sydney-London flights on November 14.

That's right: instead of Sydney-Singapore-London they'll be Sydney-Darwin-London, with a brief transit stop at Australia's 'top end'.

It's a novel twist for the Kangaroo Route, but also a temporary one, due to the early reopening of Australia's international borders in November, one month earlier than expected. Come December 18, Singapore will be back on the QF1/QF2 schedule

But until then, the red-tailed Boeing 787-9 will depart Sydney three times a week at 6.30pm, and then call into Darwin at 9.25pm.

After a 90-minute break as the plane refuels, QF1 is wheels-up from Darwin at 10.55pm to tackle the 13,800km, 17½ trek to London, where it arrives at 6.50am

And after the QF2 return leg leaves London at 9.50am – yes, this is no longer an evening flight – to reach Darwin at 11.45am, and then at 1.15pm it's off to Sydney for a 7.05pm touchdown.

Darwin has been home to many of Qantas' repatriation flights, as travellers spent their 14-day quarantine period at the Howard Springs camp.

The airline has also flagged Darwin as a replacement for Perth on its flagship direct Australia-London service for as long as Western Australia's borders remain closed – which could be as late as March-April 2022.

"We've got some good operational capability flying from Darwin to London, to Paris, to Frankfurt, to Istanbul, so we know that operation really well," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has previously remarked, adding that "Qantas' ability to fly non-stop between Australia and London is expected to be in even higher demand post-Covid."

The NT capital also served as a short-term springboard to the UK in March 2020, with Airbus A380 services running from Sydney to Darwin and then onwards to London, and vice versa.

Read: Why Qantas is now running Darwin-London A380 flights

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2017

Total posts 4

Can Darwin based travellers join / disembark the flight in Darwin?

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 224

I very much doubt it, but maybe you can check the Qantas website and try booking that leg to see what happens?

04 Sep 2019

Total posts 21

just can the perth option permanently. 

WA clearly wants to be on its own, let them be on their own then.

03 May 2021

Total posts 32

That route was their most profitable so they won’t be doing that, just wait for wa to get an uncontrollable Covid outbreak like the rest of the country, then they will join the bandwagon, when they realise eliminating delta is literally impossible.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 378

I would not be surprised if QF9 AND QF10 switches to Via Bangkok ex Melbourne for good IF PERTH AND WA want to play their childish games with the rest of the nation.QF can operate a flight in their own right Perth to Bangkok return as a connector using say an a330 in that case.Brisbane and Adelaide can feed into that service also using an a330 nonstop ADL would have to run from Sydney and make a stop in the Capital of South Australia before going onwards though maybe five days a week.

06 Feb 2021

Total posts 37

Not a chance that is going to happen.  QF9 and QF10 will either revert to Perth at some stage, or, will  be permanently rerouted via Darwin. There is no possibility it will be changed to somewhere in Asia, the entire point of these flights is that one end of the route is London, UK, and the other end is somewhere in Australia.  Alan Joyce has basically told Mark McGowan sort yourself out and your issues with overseas travel by say April, or expect us to permanently change the connection point to Darwin for those wanting to join the flight from places other than Melbourne.  Once project Sunrise becomes reality, probably 2024 at the earliest, it'll all become academic anyway, the flight will go direct from MEL to LHR. 

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 224

Bangkok? What the??? Armchair airline CEOs always make me laugh, Why on earth would Qantas switch to Bangkok and make this into an Asian hub when it's already got Singapore doing that for QF1/2 and also has plenty of familiarity with Changi and has two excellent lounges there? Plus, Aussies love Singapore, even when Qantas switched to Dubai for five years most Aussies still preferred Singapore. Qantas has a big investment in Perth and will be back to Perth as soon as WA comes to its senses.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 308

Bangkok is not high yielding enough to warrant a LHR connection on QF. 

They may (or may not) get the loads if there was such a flight, but chances are the loads on a 'hypothetical' flight to BKK are likely to be low yield budget sensitive VFR (Visiting Family & Relatives) and backpackers and 'tourists' on cheaper fares.

01 Oct 2021

Total posts 12

Im waiting too hear when Emirates and Qatar Airways will resume flights to Sydney. They may even bring there A380's back to Sydney!!

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 42

Does anyone know if there's a way to find passenger numbers of completed flights? I am very keen to know how many seats are occupied on the flights out of Australia after the travel ban is lifted.  (I know ABS will publish border data but looking for more real time and granular data...)

25 Jun 2021

Total posts 19

Are Singapore flying to Au yet?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1021

They never stopped but have been very restricted on loads due to hotel quarantine quotas.  With these going away for everyone except unvaccinated arrivals which some airlines won't carry anyway, it is likely that they will open up capacity significantly from November.

25 Jun 2021

Total posts 19

More so, will BNE to Sing be on the cards this year? I find it strange the Singapore have now more travel bubbles, and with the UK, who still have high COVID but still no AU/Sing Bubble

06 Feb 2021

Total posts 37

My memory is SQ recently indicated they could put another 600 seats a day into Sydney alone from Singapore once the cap on arrivals is lifted. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jun 2017

Total posts 9

N T government says no one will disembark or board while the plane is on the ground refueling.

ABC link to story https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-02/nt-international-borders-remain-closed-until-2022/100507852

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2014

Total posts 212

Could be an opportunity for QF to see how passengers cope with this marathon stint on the aircraft ahead of project sunrise then. 

06 Feb 2021

Total posts 37

I think you'll find QF have known the answer to that for a couple of years.   The pre-Covid QF9/10 Melbourne to London and return flights, via Perth, had very similar flying times to what will occur with them operating via Darwin.  Those flights had, according to Qantas, a very high satisfaction rating, and were amongst the most profitable of any of its international flights.  Had they turned out to be duds, I have minimal doubt Project Sunrise would have been given a lower priority, but QF9/10 indicated there is a big demand for flights between Australia and the UK where no third country stop-over is included.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2014

Total posts 212

I understand that however those were the days when one could embark and disembark at the stopover point to stretch their legs. 

This new proposal through DRW would see passengers including those in economy bound to their seats apart from the occasional toilet break for well over 20hrs straight.

How likely do you think it is that flights will resume via Singapore in Dec (QF1/QF2)?


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