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Pandemic to make Perth new ‘door to Australia’, claims industry vet

written by Sandy Milne | May 28, 2020
Qantas aircraft pictured at Perth International Airport (Source: Australian Aviation)

Linus Bauer, managing consultant at Bauer Aviation Advisory, said that the influence of the COVID-19 outbreak will prove a boon for Qantas’ “ultra-long haul” (ULH) direct flights between Perth and London, and suggested that the West Australian capital could emerge as a key intercontinental hub over the next two-three years.

In a report published by City University London, Bauer claims that health-conscious travellers will favour direct flights more than journeys laying over in south-east Asia or the Gulf. He suggests that this will likely lead to a spike in demand across cabin classes for the direct Kangaroo Route service, and even a potential “additional Perth-London service”.

“The option of bypassing a hub in the area of an outbreak can be considered as one of the additional sources of demand for direct services, driven by the fast-changing behaviour of health-conscious corporate and travellers visiting friends and relatives (VFR),” he said.

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Bauer also pointed out that the implementation of additional biosecurity and screening measures at transit points could cause ticket prices to increase, making direct transcontinental flights even more attractive.

Qantas previously hoped to expand direct ULH offerings from the WA capital to include Paris, Frankfurt and Johannesburg. However, these plans were put on hold in 2019 after disputes between the airline and Perth International Airport – which culminated in a lawsuit levelled against Qantas in a state court.

“Perth’s geographical location is one of the key benefits speaking for the establishment of a hub in Western Australia, the so-called ‘door to Australia’ by providing a large domestic network for feeder traffic,” Bauer said.

“In the post-crisis era, new opportunities for Qantas arise: Launch of new services between Australia and Europe/US, driven by factors including the change in consumer behaviours, geographical location of cities, deployment of efficient aircraft, ongoing travel restrictions and thus increasing demand for direct and domestic feeder services.”

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10 Comments

  • PETER EMMETT

    says:

    The smartest thing Qantas could do is to use ATH Athens airport as its European hub. Direct LH flights into Athens just makes a lot of sense for a whole raft of reasons, bypassing the middle east being the number 1 reason. 2. Athens is a great city full of history with a great new airport, with flights out of there to anywhere in the EU. I don’t ever expect QF to consider ATH because, lets face it, they make more bad decisions than good ones up there in the QF higher echelons of decision making…

    • Bill O'Really?

      says:

      Oh Pete, naysayer begone! Surely Alan Joyce is the most personable, people conscious and aware person anybody could ever meet. He is worth every one of his $24 million dollars that he grafts hard at for daily. All praise the supremo of all that is good in the aviation world, the social world, the human inter relationship world. Decisions like shutting down the whole company, decisions like the compensation for A330 FA’s with life destroying injuries from work incidents, decisions like letting maintenance go to third world countries so pennies can be saved. Pennies which can then go to Alan’s pocket where they sit warmly. These are great decisions by a wonderful, lovely man. All praise where it belongs, please?

  • BOB LORSCHY

    says:

    Whilst Perth is a beautiful City and destination in it’s own right, I am not sure that travelers will be attracted back to the UK too quickly – their performance in managing the COVID-19 Pandemic is woeful and is far worse than most of the Asian destinations.

  • Rodney Marikovic

    says:

    Less times landing and take off, less jetlag suffering. Contrary. Ultra long flights happier life.
    With eighty forth return trip between Australia and Europe in last fifty years flying as passenger,
    hope I can filling diferences in flihts. Onestly belive Europe have three best positions for ULF from Australia and
    New Zeland. in Athena, Roma and Belgrade. Definitely intercontinental flighs will be non stop.
    Rodney Marinkovic and Aviation Enthusiast Associate Group. ✈???✈???

  • Alan Pace

    says:

    I agree with both Peter Emmett and Bob Lorschy on each contention.

  • Marum

    says:

    Actually Cairns would be great too, because it is so much furthur north. Also Cairns can service Asia and the USA easier than Perth. Like Perth Cairns too is a destination in itself. For me personally, Cairns in my favourite place in Queensland. The new runway at 10,354 feet will handle most modern long haul passenger aircraft.
    I, like many other Australians, am more interested in Asia, than Europe

  • Ron Brown

    says:

    I agree with Bob Lorschy, we need to get our act together over here, but with the idiots we have in charge, not a hope.
    The Heathrow/Perth is a very good flight but I’m waiting for the nonstop A350 Heathrow/Sydney, that will be the way to go!

  • Diana Rogers

    says:

    I agree with Peter that a Perth to Athens direct flight would be a very smart move. Melbourne has one of the largest population of Greeks outside of Greece. This decision makes sense to flight direct to this location. Greece has reported fairly low numbers of COVID19 which makes it a safe location. Athens proximity to Croatia and eastern Europe is an advantage. Croatia as has emerged over the past few years as a must visit country in Europe. I think Australian are likely to initially avoid the western European countries like Spain, Germany, France, Italy and UK with the highest infection numbers and greatest risk of infection when international travel is resumed. Post COVID19, Athens is a hub to many cruise liners which would increase the popularity of this flight for older Australians. Finally as a proud west Australian and travel euthusatist, I think more direct flights from Perth are beneficial for our state for increased revenue and hhopefully enable Perth to become a must visit short stay location.

  • AJ Smith

    says:

    If Greece launches its euro and ANZ travel bubble this would sit very well as a new European hub for QF but cost of set up may be too high in these changing times. Probably best for QF for now to expand upon what it already knows works with Paris and Frankfurt added to its ULH range out of Perth and as things open up add Jo’burg out of Perth as SAA is on shaky ground.

  • AJ Smith - Perth

    says:

    If Greece launches its euro and ANZ travel bubble this would sit very well as a new European hub for QF but cost of set up may be too high in these changing times. Probably best for QF for now to expand upon what it already knows works with Paris and Frankfurt added to its ULH range out of Perth and as things open up add Jo’burg out of Perth as SAA is on shaky ground.

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