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Qantas will relaunch Perth-Singapore flights from June 26, just over a year since the airline axed the route and abandoned regular international services from the WA capital.
The airline will roster five flights per week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a noon departure from Perth and a return to the WA capital shortly before midnight.
However, travellers shouldn't expect a lie-flat bed in business class or even copious amounts of legroom: Qantas will run the route on a compact Boeing 737-800 aircraft instead of the big Airbus A330.
The Boeing 737 is a single-aisle workhorse mostly seen darting between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with domestic business class seats which will stretch the limit of comfort on the five hour Perth-Singapore flight.
The seat's recline and legroom is pretty much on par with Qantas' international premium economy seats on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747, although the Boeing 737 business class bench is slightly wider.
Each seat comes with a 10.6-inch touchscreen plus an AC and USB sockets for keeping your laptop, tablet or smartphone charged up en route.
Onboard service will be in keeping with an international flight, with business travellers enjoying meals from Neil Perry's Rockpool Group, Kate Spade and Jack Spade amenity kits and – on the evening Singapore-Perth leg – business class pyjamas.
Qantas' timetable shows flight QF71 leaving Perth at 12 noon for a 5.20pm arrival into Singapore; the return QF72 service is wheels-up from Singapore at 6.25pm to reach Perth at 11.40pm.
Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans said the schedule and choice of aircraft was about making the Perth-Singapore service "commercially viable."
The evening arrival into Singapore is intended to not only suit business travellers but provide "excellent connections with our airline partners into key regional Asia destinations including Tokyo, Shanghai and Delhi, subject to regulatory approval,” Evans added.
Launch fares from $199
Qantas will mark the launch with one-way economy fares from $199 going on sale at 10.30am WST (12.30pm EST) Friday April 17 to 9.50pm WST (11.50pm EST) Tuesday April 28 or until sold out.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce previously blamed harsh economics, increased competition and "ongoing record fuel prices" – prices which have since subsided – for the Flying Kangaroo's decision to shutter regular international flights from Perth.
However, in August last year Joyce's lieutenant Gareth Evans – then Chief Financial Officer for the Qantas Group, and now CEO of Qantas International – alluded to a Plan B for Perth, telling an aviation conference in Sydney that Qantas planned to relaunch the Perth-Singapore service "with a different approach."
That approach appears to have been the smaller Boeing 737 which will once again carry the airline's red tail to The Lion City.
Perth-Singapore: Qantas vs the rest
Competing airlines use larger twin-aisle aircraft between Perth and Singapore, such as Singapore Airlines' Airbus A330 and Boeing 777-200 jets.
Qantas' premium competitor on the Perth-Singapore run is Virgin Australia partner and stakeholder Singapore Airlines, which offers four flights a day on larger twin-aisle aircraft such as the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777-200.
Singapore Airlines' business class on those jets offer seats with greater legroom which convert into sloping flat beds, with return tickets selling for around $4,100.
This will make business class pricing a crucial element for Qantas, which will find it hard to compete against Singapore Airlines on the basis of seats and flight schedules alone.
Singapore Airlines' low-cost offshoot Scoot is positioned at the lower end of the market, with daily flights using the advanced Boeing 787, where the ScootBiz seats sell for around $800-$1,000 return.
Qantas' own budget Jetstar runs two daily flights between Perth and Singapore but in smaller economy-only Airbus A320s.
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