Qantas passengers flying to London will have the option to layover in Singapore from 19 June using its refurbished A380s.
From the same day, the Flying Kangaroo will also reactivate its flights to the British capital via Perth.
However, it’s not yet known whether the two new services will spell the end of the current layover in Darwin, which Qantas has repeatedly hinted could remain in some capacity.
The news was confirmed by the business’ chief executive, Alan Joyce, in an interview with Executive Traveller on Sunday, and comes despite the airline announcing in January the timing of a return to the WA capital was “under review”.
Qantas halted all commercial international flights in late March 2020, and only resumed a limited service to London, via Darwin, when borders opened to citizens and residents in November last year.
A staggered re-opening of Australia saw backpackers and migrants allowed to travel, before a full reopening to all double vaccinated visa holders commenced in February.
The reactivation of the Singapore route to London is also expected to see the reopening of Qantas ‘Singapore First’ lounge.
Currently, passengers travelling through selected routes via Singapore can transit freely if they’ve been double vaccinated, but can only enter the city if they take a negative antigen test witnessed by airport staff. Those rules are likely to be significantly relaxed by mid-June.
The return to Perth, meanwhile, comes weeks after a long-running legal dispute between Qantas and the city’s airport over fees was resolved.
In February, the West Australian Supreme Court ordered the Flying Kangaroo to pay more than $9 million in aeronautical fees covering a short period following the expiration of the pair’s previous agreement in mid-2018.
The sum was around $16 million less than the airport had hoped for but above what Qantas wanted to pay.
Welcoming the decision, Qantas Group CFO Vanessa Hudson said the airline “obviously” couldn’t agree to what it said was a 40 per cent price increase imposed by Perth Airport to sign a new deal in 2018.
“After some frustrating negotiations, the airport took us to court for underpayment instead of accepting our suggestion of an independent arbiter,” said Hudson.
Last month, Qantas also revealed it would resume flights to six more overseas destinations, as Australia’s international border restrictions finally fall, including a number of additional services from Brisbane.
From 16 February, the airline returned to Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth route as QF7, along with the return leg QF8, both operated by its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
Then from 27 March, Qantas will reinstate its Brisbane-Singapore, Sydney-Manila and Sydney-Jakarta routes, and the following day resume Sydney-Denpasar (Bali) flights – as previously suggested.
Qantas is also gearing up to restart daily flights connecting Brisbane and Los Angeles on its Airbus A330 aircraft from 1 April.