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Qantas cuts on Kangaroo route leave limited choices

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 27, 2012

Qantas cuts to its international network leave only a single daily flight to London from both Sydney and Melbourne. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas has completed the first phase of a planned contraction of its money losing international operations, scaling back flights on the Kangaroo route to London and replacing Buenos Aires services with flights to Santiago, Chile.

The carrier ended flights to London via Hong Kong and Bangkok on Sunday, leaving daily return services from Sydney and Melbourne via Singapore as the only fully Qantas-operated options between Australia and London. Qantas passengers connecting through Hong Kong and Bangkok will now transfer to a codeshare flight operated by British Airways for the longer leg of the journey. BA, in turn, will drop its Sydney-Bangkok services and increase flights between London and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the last Qantas flight to Buenos Aires departed on Saturday, with flights on the new route connecting Sydney and Santiago beginning on Monday morning.

The changes are part of a five-year plan announced in August meant to staunch losses from Qantas’s increasingly uncompetitive international operations. As part of that plan, Qantas deferred the purchase of the last six of the 20 A380s it plans to buy from Airbus and moved up the retirement of all but nine of its Boeing 747-400s. The remaining 747s are being upgraded to an A380-style interior, a project that is roughly halfway finished.

The end of the London flights came on a weekend that ended with Qantas announcing a deal with China Eastern Airlines to launch a new Jetstar franchise in Hong Kong, news that provided a welcome distraction from the parade of bad news that has dogged the airline for the past year. Still, the retreat from a flagship route that was once a lucrative mainstay of Qantas’s international network is significant, and not just symbolically.


The new schedule with BA is notable for offering a relatively limited choice of flight times in comparison to its key competitors.

Under the contracted schedule, the daily Qantas A380 service between Melbourne and London departs as QF9 at 3:30 p.m. and returns as QF10 at 10:30 p.m. London time. The other option, a Qantas A330 to Hong Kong with an onward connection on a BA 747-400, also departs Melbourne in the afternoon at 2:15 p.m. That contrasts with Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines, all of which offer two daily flights from Melbourne to London including a late-night option.

Qantas began services to Santiago on Monday. (Qantas)

The Sydney-Singapore-London service, also aboard an A380, has been renumbered as QF1 returning as QF2, a designation it takes over from the former Sydney-Bangkok-London flight. QF1 departs at 4:10 p.m. and arrives in London at 6:35 a.m., returning at 9:30 p.m. for a 5:10 a.m. arrival.

Again, that leaves Qantas offering a limited choice of flight times in some cases. For example, all three daily Qantas/BA flights from Sydney to Singapore, two of which are operated by Qantas, will leave within a half-hour window in the late afternoon.


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Comments (15)

  • PBS


    What a shame Joyce’s enthusiasm and investment in growth is limited to his baby – Jetstar, and not the Aussie icon Qantas mainline that he seems hell bent on whittling down to an airline in name only – without serious plans for international growth.

  • Clive Derwent


    That’s the way to grow the the Business Mr Joyce, lets reduce services, not improve the service.
    Why would I fly to London on Qantas with only one real choice of flight time.
    Clive @ Kensington

  • Patrick Kilby


    The times are all to do with slots at Heathrow, a careful look at SQ CX and Emrates all have only one fligh with good connections and they all get in at 6.00a.m

  • Luke


    Joyce said Qantas is getting taken over from airlines like Emirates and Asian airlines. Well it is very hard not to fly them when Qantas has no flights. I am willing to pay more to travel a full serivice airline and good customer service. Travelling to Singapore return in August had no choice but to fly SQ who have 3 options from Melbourne.

  • Rob


    As a platinum frequent flyer I find this very, very disappointing news. I recall some months ago that Qantas put out a simple graphic showing that all areas of business, including domestic flight operations & the frequent flyer scheme, were profitable except for international travel. The CEO and board have cut the cake in a pretty biased manner here, I can tell Mr Joyce that the key reason that I fly Qantas domestically & contribute towards the profitability of the FF award scheme is because of the availabilty of international flights / benefits – I do not count BA or Jetstar as options here, BA are living on past reputations for long haul travel, Jetstar out of Asia have poor fatigue management (I’ll not take the risk thanks). In summary, limited options for international flights through Qantas will mean I look at using Virgin more domestically – simple!

  • Linda


    Qantas should take off all references to ‘kangaroo’ and Australia as they are majority of Overseas flight, not Australia flights!

  • Joeseph


    Well done Mr Joyce, Qantas being sacrificed again in favour of the favoured child Jetstar. Where are the 787s for QF long haul? JQ will get theirs first QF will languish with the A330-200s that JQ will give back to QF as a fill-in. What a joke! Time you moved on before this wonderful icon is decimated by woeful & one-eyed decisions.

  • Mark


    This is just another crazy and rushed business decision by an amateur CEO. And they wonder why people keep going to the other premium airlines….you are kidding yourself Mr Joyce.

    Patrick Kilby for the record, if you fly with SQ, CX or MH on the late evening (11pm ish) out of BNE, MEL or SYD you can connect with a morning (9am) departure out of Asia for a 3pm same day arrival into Heathrow. This connection is in addition to the standard 6am arrival into London that most Australians are used too and the late evening (7pm arrival) into London you can take should you already be in Asia, the later having not so good connections from Australia. But 2 out of 3 not bad.

    Please hand over Qantas Mr Joyce!!

  • Phill


    Please Mr Joyce Leave – you are doing everything you can to ruin this great Australian company – sure let Jetstar grow in Asia – and good luck to them but go be CEO of Jetstar again if you love it so much and let someone run Qantas who has an interest in it, it is very obvious you don’t

  • Ray


    Etihad and Emirates provide limo service for business and first class passengers in many cities incuding Brisbane,Sydney and Melbourne to and from the aiport. I once asked a limo driver why QANTAS do not do something similar. His reply was — QANTAS had looked at doing the same but their decision was — too expensive..

  • Ian Marston


    I t seems to me that Mr Joyce is doing to Qantas what our prime minister is doing to Australia, destruction! All extremely sad!

  • NJP


    SQ retire their last 747’s and move to more modern & efficient aircraft as QF refurbish their 747’s and push back modern replacements – not hard to see the problem then…. I’ll be on SQ thanks

  • BRD


    Agree totally with fleet issue, continue wasting money on B747-400’s and defer the new aircraft are both great short term, ‘look how good we are today’ decisions designed to maximize Exec bonuses and drive the company into the ground. Mr Joyce, you may win in the short term, unfortunately we as a nation will loose in the long run. How unfortunate!

  • Peter G


    Thanks to BRD for his comments on the 747 but let’s just see if the plastic wonder A380 lasts as long and as strong.
    As for Mr Joyce, his tactic’s so far don’t seem to be saving Qantas and his handling of staff issues is wanting but I admit, what was he to do with unions who won’t budge into a new era.Job guarantees in this era?
    Reorganise the Kangaroo route but don’t slash it. Will people want to fly Qantas and then want to get off on to BA?
    I seriously have my doubts about Qantas ability to survive, particularly if Mr Joyce is in the seat.

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