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Retro Roo puts Perth back on the Qantas International map

written by Chris Frame | June 26, 2015

Qantas's Boeing 737-800 VH-XZP departs Perth Airport to a water cannon salute for the resumption of the airline's Perth-Singapore service on June 26 2015. (Chris Frame)

A few minutes after midday on Friday, June 26, QF 71 pushed back from the gate at Perth Airport.

The flight’s departure – complete with ARFF water cannon salute – signalled the return of regularly scheduled Qantas international flights from the WA capital, with return services flying five days a week between Perth and Singapore.

The 168-seat Boeing 737-800 rostered to operate Friday’s flight was VH-XZP, the Qantas retrojet featuring the airline’s iconic ochre colour scheme first introduced in 1967. It was a full load for Friday’s departure, demonstrating a positive customer response to the airline’s decision to return to this route. And it wasn’t hard to notice the happy faces of airport staff at the sight of the aircraft at the gate, which added to a sense of excitement that prevailed among the passengers waiting to board.

One passenger boarding QF71 was Peter Campbell, a local West Australian who chooses to fly Qantas whenever he can. He said while he had been critical of Qantas’s 2014 decision to withdraw from Perth international services, he was delighted to see flights recommencing.


“When I heard Qantas was coming back to the route, I decided to put my money where my mouth is. So we booked a weekend break to Singapore in support of the new service,” Campbell told Australian Aviation prior to the flight.

At the airport to personally welcome passengers aboard the service was Qantas head of customer experience Nicholas Bull, who commented on the recent successes seen at the airline, including introducing the Airbus A330 business suite and re-establishing international services.

“The return of direct flights is great news for our customers who had let us know they wanted to see services recommence,” Bull said.

“Departures at this time of day will see passengers arrive in time for dinner, or to connect through our network to other Asian destinations.”

Qantas International chief executive Gareth Evans concurred with this analysis, commenting: “Our customers told us they missed us – so with the right strategy with the right aircraft on the right route, we’ve come back to meet that demand.”

“This is great news for tourism in Western Australia, with the route being promoted to more international customers than ever before,” Evans said.

The flight was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 1720 Singapore time, with the return flight, QF72 departing at 1825 for a 2340 landing back in Perth.

Qantas’s Perth-Singapore flight has also been supported by the Flying Kangaroo’s airline partners, with eight carriers – Jet Airways, Finnair, British Airways, Emirates, Japan Airlines, China Eastern, Bangkok Airways and SriLankan – codesharing on the route.

Meanwhile, Qantas said on Friday there were now four refurbished A330s in its domestic fleet, enabling all overnight, or “red-eye” domestic services from Perth now flown with aircraft featuring its new business class seats.

Chris Frame is a Perth-based maritime historian, travel writer, author and lecturer.

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Comments (16)

  • Michael


    Great news, well done Qantas. Now time to look at returning Adelaide international routes.

  • Richard Dee


    Wonderful to see the red roo heading overseas from Perth again. I remember the days of Qantas direct Joburg to Perth flights and the big beautiful Qantas 747 landing at the Perth airfield.

  • Qing Gü


    Very glad Qantas resumed flights on the retro roo, lets hope we can see a 737 flight from Adelaide and maybe even Darwin in the future.

  • Richard Dee


    And also the days the BA 747’s used to come to YPPH!

  • jasontaylor


    Congratulations QANTAS on finally returning the international red roo to Perth. Now lets upgrade the flight to one of the refurbished A330s for an experience comparable to the competition, on a daily schedule. The aircraft could easily cycle through the Interstate loop with some slight scheduling adjustments considering the quantity of A330s sitting on the ground overnight in Perth ready for an early AM departure..

  • Bradley


    Now start using the 737’s on more international routes, particularly from Cairns, Darwin ect

  • Chris


    I know I’ll be booking Qantas rather than Jetstar for my Singapore trips from now on!!

  • chuck


    This probably reinforces that there are several regional international routes from Australian cities that need a class of aircraft that the Australian carriers just don’t have. The B757 / 737-900ER class has never made it to Australia – but truth be known it’s the range-payload configuration that most suites the traffic density of many of these routes. These routes can’t support 3 class A330s, and max-out the range of most single aisles. The next generation of A320/737 may solve this?

  • Christine


    I’d love to see Qantas 737’s back to Indonesia – competing with Garuda for those of us who don’t want to ensure the pain of LCC.

    Qantas should consider flights to South Africa in competition with VA / SAA – id take a qantas economy cabin over the old 333 any day.

  • Christine


    Sorry make that “old 343” for SAA.

  • Geoff


    It was a brilliant flight – much appreciated Qantas. Up the back at the window with a TV screen on the seat ahead of me – doesn’t matter if it’s a 737 or a 747.

  • Russell M


    Somewhat ironic they used the “retro” aircraft. This is, after all, the airline that is famous for its’ “re-launched” flights…..to the Gold Coast, to Hamilton Island, to India, ,eeep, cancel the direct flights to India, eeeep, launch a flight to India.

    Just gets a bit repetitive really.

  • Alan Griffiths


    Good to see QANTAS returning to a route it should never have left. But using one of their totally cramped 737’s? Might as well maintain the Jetstar alternative.

    I had the displeasure of riding in one of these terrible aircraft from Melbourne to Perth a month ago, and even standard size people (such as my wife who is 168cm – 5’6″ – tall) had their knees jammed against the seats in front. Tall people such as myself were better off standing all the way ….. and now I’m reliably informed that they intend fitting another row into economy!!!

    It’s about time QANTAS senior management started looking at who keeps their airline flying – and it’s not them – it’s us – the passengers.

  • Craigy


    Re Alan Griffiths

    It is a redesign of the aft galley area that permits the addition of anothe row and not a case of reducing seat pitch. I am 186 cm (6’1″) and don’t have a problem with the seats in the B737. If you want discomfort, try flying Monarch out of the UK.

  • Mackai


    Good to see them utilize the 737 internationally out of Perth, so many sit there for hours doing nothing, they should take one of jetstars frequencies to Bali, then jetstar use the spare aircraft to restart Lombok, the demand was always there and still is, if not Air Asia to take the opportunity to try it

  • franz chong


    Good on them.I would love to see them return to Adelaide.Maybe a few A321’S IN Qantas Colors Nonstop as a Sydney to Singapore VIA ADL service for the future.

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