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Qantas brings back Darwin–Singapore route with E-Jets

written by Jake Nelson | January 17, 2024

Qantas will fly from Darwin to Singapore using Embraer E190s. (Image: Qantas)

Qantas has announced a new service from Darwin to Singapore on Embraer E190s.

The route, launching on 9 December, will initially fly five return services per week, increasing to daily from March 2025. The flights are expected to add more than 60,000 seats between Darwin and Singapore per year and offer easier access from the Northern Territory to destinations in Europe and Asia.

Qantas’ previous service from Darwin to Singapore ended in 2006, with the carrier now saying the size, range and economics of the E190 open up routes that “wouldn’t be viable with larger aircraft”. The new service will be operated under a wet lease agreement by Alliance Airlines.

“The direct service is not just great news for Territorians wanting to visit Singapore, but also for those travelling to London, Europe and across Southeast Asia, with connections to popular destinations like Phuket and Kuala Lumpur with our partner airlines, saving hours of travel time,” said Qantas International CEO Cam Wallace.

“This new route also allows us to restore the link to the UK which was established when international borders first reopened after the pandemic and we temporarily re-routed our London flight via Darwin with the support of the Northern Territory Government and Darwin Airport.

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“This new service makes it much easier for Qantas customers from the UK, Europe and across Asia to incorporate Darwin into their Australian itinerary and experience everything the Territory has to offer.”

The Singapore route joins Qantas’ existing E190 service from Darwin to Dili in Timor-Leste, also operated under the QantasLink banner by wet-leased Alliance aircraft, and was enabled by the establishment in 2022 of an E190 jet base at Darwin Airport.

Announcing the Darwin base in February 2022, then Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the E190s would open up new travel options for the Northern Territory.

“The E190 is a fantastic aircraft and the new routes and frequencies they have supported means that Darwin is better positioned to take advantage of the comeback of domestic tourism and business travel,” Joyce said.

“Basing these aircraft in Darwin means securing more jobs and a stronger local aviation industry.

“The E190 allows us to improve our schedule for NT travellers. When we first introduced the E190 on our Darwin to Adelaide flights, we were able to double the number of flights we offered each day, giving customers more choice about when they travel. We look forward to providing this flexibility across other new and existing routes.”

The Flying Kangaroo owns a 20 per cent stake in Alliance and has an agreement for the charter and FIFO operator to fly up to 30 E190s on Qantas’ behalf. The wet lease agreement remains in place despite Qantas and Alliance walking away from a takeover deal in October last year following opposition by the ACCC.

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