Qantas' three-pronged Europe strategy: Sunrise, Singapore and Emirates

The Kangaroo Route between Australia and the UK, let alone the rest of Europe, has never been so diverse...

By David Flynn, December 16 2019
Qantas' three-pronged Europe strategy: Sunrise, Singapore and Emirates

The promise of non-stop flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to London is now closer than ever, with Qantas having confirmed the Airbus A350-1000 as its globe-striding jetliner of choice for the 20 hour journey.

A few details remain to be ironed out – not the least of which is a wage deal with the pilots who will fly the Project Sunrise routes – but if all falls into place, Qantas will place an order with Airbus valued at $6.4bn for 12 of the long-legged A350-1000s, with first flights by the middle of 2023.

Yet while the airline trumpets these marathon treks as the final frontier of commercial aviation, Qantas says that London flights which make a stopover in Singapore will remain on the schedule.

They'll take slightly longer than the non-stop service, of course, but will be less expensive, with Qantas aiming to charge a premium of "20 to 30 per cent" for the direct flights compared to a stopover route.

"We now have three different components of our European strategy," explains Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, speaking with Executive Traveller at the official opening of the new Qantas Singapore First Lounge.

Stop-over vs straight through

The hero option is, of course, "to fly direct, where those direct flights are with Sunrise, and we may only have three destinations we'll ever do that with: London, Paris and FrankfurtWe think the other (destinations) are going to be too small to be able to justify it."

"Singapore is still a massive part of our strategy," emphasises Tino La Spina, CEO of Qantas International.

Sunrise is really about point-to-point, if you want to go from Melbourne to London for example. But we're still going to have the ability to hub through Singapore. Some people will want to have a stop in the middle, either because they want a break or because they're actually flying to two destinations – they want to spend some time in Singapore and some time at the other end."

Singapore also serves as a convenient point for joining the European-bound flights of Qantas partners such as Air France, KLM and Finnair, none of which fly directly to Australia.

"And then the third component is Emirates," Joyce says, alluding to the Qantas-Emirates alliance inked in 2013.

"We put a lot of traffic onto the 40 ports that Emirates serve in Europe, and maybe 37 of them we will never operate to. So that is the strategy in how we pull all of Europe and Asia together, and they compliment each other."

Of Singapore and superjumbos

The opening years of the Project Sunrise era will see the Airbus A350-1000s darting straight from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to London and back, while the double-decker Airbus A380s will continue to detour via Singapore.

However, by 2028 the first Qantas superjumbos will have notched up 20 years of solid flying and will be ready for retirement – with the possibility that more Airbus A350-1000s will take their place.

This is the main reason why the Qantas Airbus A350s will be fitted with all four standard travel classes, unlike Singapore Airlines' ultra-long range Airbus A350 jets which sport only business class and premium economy.

“What we have to have is an aircraft that not only can fly Sydney-London and Sydney-New York, and Melbourne-London and Melbourne-New York, but also can be rotated to do Sydney-Hong Kong and Sydney-LA," Joyce told Executive Traveller earlier this year. This is driving Qantas towards a full four-cabin configuration “so that means all of the seats have to be usable for those routes."

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

18 Apr 2018

Total posts 3

What about Perth? Surely it is also part of the future strategy given the investment made in the Transit lounge?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 752

The lounge isn't too much in the general scheme of things, that just got QF on the map for non-stop Australia-UK service. If this Project Sunrise sees the light of day you can bet they'll all be leaving from Sydney or Melbourne.

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 84

Perth airport have killed that plan off, they had a window to make it work but it's closed now.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2019

Total posts 14

You might see more Boeing 787 flights directly from Perth to less popular but still profitable European destinations.

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 117

Noting the PERTH route is their most profitable international route and about 70% of passengers are not transit its hard to see any change there despite all the arm chair experts

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 648

I'm not sure how they can keep an A380 via Singapore nearly 500 seats plus close to 600 seats in two A350s plus 230 ex Perth which is a nearly a doubling in capacity from the current 700. Maybe a 787 from Brisbane going onto LHR via Singapore. Dropping Perth London wouldn't make sense as a lot of Perth originating and Adelaide can connect without backtracking. The have three years to work it out but interesting to see what eventuates.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 682

WIth only 4 slot pairs in LHR, the long-term will probably be SYD-LHR, MEL-LHR, SYD-SIN-LHR and either BNE-LHR or BNE-PER-LHR.

I think ADL pax would be more grateful for a QF international service into SIN which would give them a lot of opportunities into Asia as well as Europe. Currently this market belongs to SQ an to a lesser extent EK.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 648

Adelaide may get one of the A321XLRs which will arrive at much the same time. Hopefully Canberra as well but less likely.

15 Sep 2012

Total posts 92

Qantas needs to go back to the pre- Emirates days and rebuild it's Singapore Hub which was so successful.

The 3 787s Jetstar are planning on taking out of service could be used to start services quickly from Adelaide and Canberra to Singapore and onwards to Frankfurt and Paris. Passengers from other cities change at Singapore. Get some A350s to replace them eventually.

Get some A321XLRs and use them for Qantas mainline services from Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Newcastle, Townsville to Singapore then onwards to India, Vietnam, Thailand and other Asian destinations. Use them like 767s were used in the past.

Similarly fly A321XLRs from those regional ports to Auckland connecting with 787s or other large aircraft to LAX, Chicago and New York nonstop.Make Auckland an offshore hub also

This can all be done fairly quickly as Qantas already has the rights to fly most of these routes. Paris currently allowed 4 flights weekly, Frankfurt similar schedule. They have Auckland- LAX rights and Singapre - Australian ports.

Qantas currently have options with Airbus that can easily be converted to A321s to go with order for A350-1000s. Qantas has slots for possible quick delivery of A321XLR.

No reason can't fly Sydney and Melbourne nonstop to Dubai as well connecting with Emirates. Doesnt have tb Singapore OR Dubai. You can have alternative stopovers!!!!

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 648

On shore hubs are much cheaper than off shore hubs which Perth airport doesn't seem to get. The best idea would be to hub through Perth those that don't warrant a Sydney Melbourne non-stop.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 682

QF has looked at RedQ which was an Asian hubbed airline using A320s and worked out it was doomed. They spent over $60M working out it was a dud; I don't think they'll revisit it again. The issue is such an airline will largely rely on connecting passengers and airlines who also have a great mix of O&D pax (SQ!!!) will crush you.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 975

"RedQ" wasn't a "dud". They couldn't get MH to agree to a partnership.

The plan for RedQ was introduced while both QF and MH was having cash problems and at the same time as MH was joining oneworld. The problems leading to the airline not happening was because it was the middle of the GFC and they couldn't get investors in SIN or KUL to sign on.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1253

I'm not sure your measure of successful is the same as Qantas's mate

30 May 2018

Total posts 26

Regarding Paris, QF say they have daily rights now, however I belief the number of seats are capped per week.

As for “Europe Strategy”, it's pretty lame today: they fly to London. That's it. Living in Paris I've seen the ‘announcements' come and go from QF of a return to Paris and now take everything they say as nothing more than attention seeking PR.

After 18 years Platinum with QF, most of that living in France, I'm abandoning them for AF. We'll see what their new partnership brings.

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 160

Interesting that AJ does not mention OneWorld as being part of their strategy at ALL. Mentions plenty of non-OW carriers though!

16 Dec 2019

Total posts 1

Qantas tried to put more flights through Perth how ever Perth Airport didn't play ball. Qantas and rightly so wanted all demestic and international flights as they currently have the London flight all out of the 1 terminal Terminal 3 I believe it is. Perth AP didn't want that for some stupid reason. Instead wanting Qantas to fly into 1 terminal and them have to move the aircraft and people over to the other terminal which meant having to cross the main runway. Perth Airport should have played ball and agreed to allowing QF to operate out of T3. They would have more flights there for more revenue. Also apparently they charge more than the east coat too and QF was having an argument with them about it as well which didn't help but again Perth Airport should have played ball and have now missed out on more revenue. Furthermore about the fleet there will mainly be 787s and A330s doing most sectors with the A380s doing the majors out of Sydney and Melbourne. Would take a punt and say if Boeing have an 777-10 that would replace the A380 and I do hope they order some 777Xs. Would be a good fleet mix. A330s could be replaced by 787s or A350s heck even A330Neos but you never know.

30 May 2014

Total posts 1

PAPL wants to consolidate into one terminal, which I think is a good idea and needs Qantas to commit to this. I don't get the crossing the runway argument personally. As a Perth origin flyer who has been forced to transfer to a SYD international flight, I've done the bus trip across the runway a few times. Why doesn't Qantas want to move its international flights to their domestic terminal?

Regardless, Perth will be dropped ASAP by Qantas. Given the new international carriers starting from Perth, it will be cheaper to fly through them than Air Sydney.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 648

AntPerth the difference with the bus in Sydney and Perth is that in Perth they want to tow exactly the same plane(s) across the field for passengers to get into the same seats. Weird!! In 2025 they will be in a new qantas terminal in the centre area so it would only be until it gets built. It makes a lot of sense for Perth to be a hub for the non Sydney originating flights but naturally qantas or its passengers don't want four or five flights a day being towed and people bussed across the field.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 975

Qantas *has* committed to the new PER terminal. That terminal isn't expected to be ready for years. In the meantime, they want all their flights in T3/4 and will move all their flights to the new terminal once it is open.

Qantas currently has all their domestic flights, their LHR and SIN flights and the seasonal AKL flights operate from the same PER terminal. It is quite reasonable for them to want any other flight they were to add to PER to operate from that same terminal until the new terminal is open and they can move all their flights over.

Qantas wanted to start a new route from PER-JNB, operating from their existing terminal which already had the LHR, SIN and AKL flights. The airport said no and demanded it be operated from the main international terminal. Qantas said that didn't make any sense and said "no flight for you" and instead used the aircraft on increased flights from the east coast to Japan.

23 Mar 2016

Total posts 4

Can anyone explain why Qantas are looking at taking 3 x 787s out of service?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 648

Red Baron it is Jetstar and it could be a negotiation ploy with the pilots but they are saying they are uneconomic. I suspect they will be replaced by A320XLRs but that is a year or two away. My view even if they are smaller plane QF may have a use for them.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 752

The 3 x JQ 787-8 don't have the crew rest area. Apparently CASA regulations are changing soon, and for the flight sector lengths (e.g. to Hawaii) the 788s are on, they will need a crew rest area. So they've got to go or be repurposed elsewhere.

23 Mar 2016

Total posts 4

Thanks @johnaboxall. I was initially going to suggest that the 787s could replace more expensive old A330s on international routes, but if crew rest area is the issue then could they not be re-purposed to replace A330s on MEL-SYD or SYD-PER flights? it's not like they're continually cancelling flights on such routes and consolidating them on to larger planes.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Feb 2011

Total posts 7

How many Heathrow slots does Qantas have? If SYD/MEL/BNE non stop plus SIN - QF will need 4 pairs have they ever had that many?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Feb 2011

Total posts 7

Plus PER makes 5

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 975

LHR slots are sold and traded between airlines and are treated as airline assets. Some LHR slots have sold for millions.

Qantas has owned 4 slot pairs at LHR for quite some time and used to use all 4 pairs when they operated 4 daily flights to LHR (MEL-HKG-LHR, MEL-SIN-LHR, SYD-BKK-LHR and SYD-SIN-LHR).

They currently use 2 pairs and lease the other 2 to BA.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 648

I think Brisbane would go via Perth or Singapore. I don't see a direct flight for the time being as there is no one to hub into Brisbane except some places to the north while Perth has Adelaide and Canberra.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 648

If the keep an A380 that is a doubling of capacity into London. Presumably they hope to steal it from the others but I doubt it. It will be in the end a 787 at best Singapore to London.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

19 Mar 2018

Total posts 35

You have to understand something.

Singapore Airlines is a relatively insignificant player in the context of the local O&D market, and Australia is not that popular among Southeast Asia visitors because of the high foreign exchange rates and the perceived lack of sights in Australia. And this is to a large extent maintained, allowing seats to be sold as sixth freedom itineraries.

Visit KLIA2 and you'll see the glowing sign of AirAsia's base, “RedQ” on it. When one considers the AirAsia brand as part of Qantas, you very quickly find that over time, the importance of SIN to Qantas is not a stopover but the 2nd largest customer base by revenue after Sydney, and the 3rd largest in terms of passengers flown after Sydney and Melbourne. Qantas subtly inserted itself into the fabric of Singapore society, with SAFRA cards, a lifestyle reward card used by the conscripts and regular personnel of the military, as well as standard DBS cards subtly being Qantas Frequent Flyer. This is basically QF pulling a virtual airline strategy and winning.

Singaporeans who are active KrisFlyer members are a minority. SQ puts customers through a 45min wait for mileage redemptions, creates vague and unnecessarily complicated rules. And SQ belief that they can simply satisfy customers in Economy by having them use the little miles they earn on what, KrisShop, KrisPay?? I mean come on, Singapore is the fintech capital of the world, where Grab Rewards is praised by Forbes as better than Uber. Qantas has a real chance here, in Singapore.

And Scoot... simply can't be compared to Jetstar Asia as evidenced by Jetstar Asia's very popular SME and corporate travel program. The only way out of this rut will be to have SQ sell VA stake to Delta and Delta controlled VA launching flights to SIN and Southeast Asia. They needn't do too much. Malindo and Batik are Virgin linked airlines (so obvious with white purple marketing material).

This would finally give SQ the opportunity to partner Qantas, and resolve this dangerous imbalance.

BTW is it me or is oneworld and SkyTeam are merging?

06 Nov 2019

Total posts 9

Does qantas still only have two slots into london?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 648

Glideslope qantas has four slots but two are leased to BA and presumably BA would want a year or so notice to give them back. I hope that clarifies things.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas' three-pronged Europe strategy: Sunrise, Singapore and Emirates

Notice (8): Undefined variable: infiniteScroll [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 216]
Notice (8): Undefined variable: infiniteScroll [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 222]
Warning (2): Invalid argument supplied for foreach() [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 222]