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Qantas pauses Perth to London non-stop flights over Iran fears

written by Adam Thorn | April 13, 2024

Victor Pody shot this Qantas 787, VH-ZNJ, in special Qantas 100 livery
Victor Pody shot this Qantas 787, VH-ZNJ, in special Qantas 100 livery.

Qantas has paused non-stop flights between Perth and London amid concerns Iran could launch an imminent attack on Israel.

The QF9 service – one of the world’s longest – will now stop over in Singapore because the 787’s range isn’t long enough to divert around the Middle East.

The change, which won’t apply to return service QF10, has the potential to affect the Flying Kangaroo’s restart of flights from Perth to Rome and the launch of a new route between Perth and Paris in July.

Qantas said on Saturday morning, “We’re temporarily adjusting the flight paths for our flights between Perth and London due to the situation in parts of the Middle East.”

“We’ll reach out to customers directly if there’s any change to their booking.”


It comes after Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, said she had called her Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and urged the Islamic Republic to “use its influence in the region to promote stability, not contribute to escalation”.

“Australia will continue working with partners who have influence in the region to stop the conflict from spreading. Further conflict will only add to the devastation in the Middle East.”

On Friday, Australia formally updated its travel advice on its Smart Traveller website and urged citizens to “reconsider your need to travel” to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

“There’s an increased threat of military and terrorist attacks against Israel and Israeli interests across the region. The security situation could deteriorate quickly, with little or no notice,” it states.

“This may also result in airspace closures, flight cancellations and flight diversions, and other travel disruptions. Airports may pause operations due to heightened security concerns. This may cause flight delays or cancellations.”

Qantas only restarted the 17-hour flight post-pandemic in May 2022, but it has long been considered one of the airline’s most successful.

The iconic trip was the first and is still the only, non-stop commercial flight between the UK and Australia.

It led to the launch of seasonal flights between WA and Rome, which at one point saw 98 per cent of seats full.

Qantas plans to follow the success of direct flights to Europe with a new non-stop service between Perth and Paris in July.

The return will also mark the Flying Kangaroo’s first commercial flight to France in almost two decades.

Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson said in October, “Our direct flights to London and Rome have been hugely popular, and Paris is the next most-requested destination, so we know the demand for this service will be strong as well.

“Some of the first customers on these flights will be Australian athletes heading to Paris to compete at the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We’re the only airline offering these direct flights rather than going through a mid-point because the key market we serve is Australia. Our in-flight service is designed with long-haul travel in mind.

“The schedule we’ve announced today will add more than 75,000 seats between Australia and Europe each year, and we’ll be working with Tourism WA to help make the most of the opportunity to bring tourists here, knowing that direct flights are a big factor in people deciding where to travel.”

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