Qantas will axe Dubai from its route map and return to Singapore as the stopover for flights from Sydney to London.
From March 25 2018, the flagship QF1/QF2 Sydney-London Airbus A380 service will run via Singapore instead of Dubai, replacing one of the two daily Sydney-Singapore A330 flights.
QF1 will depart Sydney at 3.55pm to reach Singapore at 10.25pm, and then continue to London shortly before midnight for a 6.50am arrival.
(The current daily QF81/QF82 Sydney–Singapore A330 service will continue to run as usual.)
Also from 25 March 2018, the daily Qantas Melbourne-Singapore flight QF35/QF36 will be upgraded to an A380, while QF37/QF38 will shift to a daily A330 service.
As previously announced, Qantas' existing Melbourne-Dubai-London service is being replaced by the new Boeing 787 service flying Melbourne-Perth-London.
The dramatic changes come as Qantas enters the second five years of its partnership with Emirates.
Although describing the first five years of the Qantas-Emirates alliance as "a great success," Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said "our partnership has evolved to a point where Qantas no longer needs to fly its own aircraft through Dubai, and that means we can redirect some of our A380 flying into Singapore and meet the strong demand we’re seeing in Asia."
“Improvements in aircraft technology mean the Qantas network will eventually feature a handful of direct routes between Australia and Europe, but this will never overtake the sheer number of destinations served by Emirates and that’s why Dubai will remain an important hub for our customers.”
In a statement issued to media this morning, Qantas maintained that "customer demand for flights between Australia and Dubai will remain well served by the 77 weekly services that Emirates operates from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney."
Qantas abandoned its long-held and popular 'Singapore stopover' to London in April 2013 as part of the airlines' alliance with Emirates.
The return of the Airbus A380 onto the Sydney-Singapore-London and Melbourne-Singapore routes will also see first class sold on the legs to and from Singapore, alongside premium economy – which is not featured on the smaller Airbus A330s.