Qantas will return to running long-haul international flights from Perth next year by launching a new service to Rome.
It comes after the flag carrier switched its London services from Perth to Darwin, and criticised the state’s “conservative border policies”.
The new Sydney-Perth-Rome route will launch on 22 June 2022 with its 787-9 Dreamliners and operate three times a week.
Qantas said it will be the only direct service between Australia and continental Europe.
Customers will be able to combine Rome flights with its double-daily direct flights between Australia and London, meaning they will be able to fly in and out of different cities on one return ticket through to October 2022.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said, “We’ve seen amazing demand on our direct service from Perth to London and on our new services to Delhi from Melbourne and Sydney.
“These are exciting destinations and there’s strong evidence the pandemic is making nonstop flights between Australia and the rest of world even more desirable as we learn to live with the virus and its variants.”
Qantas recently started new flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Delhi and restarted a number of existing routes from Sydney and Melbourne to destinations including Los Angeles, London and Singapore.
Fares for the new Sydney-Perth-Rome flights go on sale today starting from $1,785 return and it will run seasonally until 6 October 2022.
Qantas will offer connections to 16 destinations in Europe including Athens, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Nice, Madrid and Paris and 15 destinations within Italy including Milan and Venice.
The news comes after Qantas previously hinted Perth could permanently lose its exclusive status as a transit hub for flights between London and both Sydney and Melbourne.
Qantas then reached an agreement with the Northern Territory to temporarily reroute its “kangaroo” flights through Darwin Airport until “at least” April 2022.
Chief executive Alan Joyce added if the altered route generates “good interest and good traffic” it could be in addition to the Perth layover.
“Australia’s global reputation as a friendly, safe and unique destination is already an enormous tourism drawcard and adding Rome to the Qantas network means visitors will experience the Spirit of Australia before they even arrive,” Joyce said.