Qantas will abandon its alliance with South African Airways under which the airlines share flights between Australia and Johannesburg.
The codeshare agreement will end on May 31st this year.
Qantas says it will retain its Sydney-Johannesburg route but will no longer offer bookings on South African Airways' flight from Perth to Johannesburg.
Instead, Qantas will offer flights via Dubai with its partner Emirates, which operates three daily services between Perth and Dubai with onward connections to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
That means a long trek for the Flying Kangaroo's Perth passengers.
South African Airways' Perth-Johannesburg flight takes around 10.5 hours – the same amount of time as flying from Perth to Dubai on Emirates.
Qantas says that "customers who choose to travel on Emirates operated services to Johannesburg will have a connection time in Dubai of 1 hour and 40 minutes", after which there's another eight hours in the air.
This means the Dubai detour will add almost 10 hours to the trip.
Virgin Australia set to step in?
Earlier this month South African Airways revealed a new partnership with Virgin Australia which allows SAA passengers to book from Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide – but not Sydney – onto SAA's Perth-Johannesburg flight by connecting to Perth on domestic Virgin Australia routes.
At the time SAA’s Country Manager for Australasia Tim Clyde-Smith noted that "we look forward to strengthening our partnership with Virgin Australia in the future," so that time may well be at hand.
The Qantas-SAA alliance was due to expire in December this year, requiring both airlines to re-apply to the International Air Services Commission before it could continue into 2015.
"Regulators had previously indicated that an extension of the codeshare beyond December 2014 was unlikely, so winding it up earlier means we can create new options for customers travelling between Perth and Johannesburg" a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.
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