Qantas Extends London Service via Darwin, Opens New Darwin Base With Four Embraer E190s
Due to uncertainty regarding the reopening of the Western Australia border, Qantas will continue offering double-daily flights between Australia and London via Darwin. Separately, the carrier announced the opening of a new Darwin base with four Embraer E190s.
On Tuesday (February 15, 2022), Qantas announced that their double daily London flights will continue to operate via Darwin due to uncertainty regarding the reopening of the Western Australia (WA) border, and testing requirements for passengers transiting through Singapore. When international travel reopened in November 2021, but WA remained closed, Qantas temporarily rerouted their Perth-London service via Darwin. The route was scheduled to return to Perth in April, but since WA borders remain closed, Qantas will continue to operate the route via Darwin until at least June 2022. The carrier’s route between Sydney and London will also continue to operate via Darwin until June. Qantas currently operates daily flights from both Melbourne and Sydney to London via Darwin with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
In Tuesday’s announcement, Qantas Group’s CEO, Alan Joyce, said,
“The work of the Chief Minister and his team, and the cooperation of Darwin Airport, have made running and now extending this service possible. Because of their help, flying between Australia and London has been a lot easier than it might have been otherwise. This extension through to at least mid-June means the Top End has several months to properly leverage the opening up of Australia’s borders to all tourists. It’s a great opportunity to encourage thousands of visitors to stop off in Darwin to see what the NT has to offer.”
In a separate press release on Tuesday (February 15, 2022), Qantas announced the opening of a new base in Darwin with three based Embraer E190 jets. The base will support over 90 new Northern Territory (NT) jobs, and QantasLink will launch their first international route with service between Darwin and Dili in East Timor. The 97-seat Embraer E190s are configured with both Business Class and Economy Class cabins and can operate routes up to five hours. The aircraft will be deployed on Qantas’ network as part of a three year capacity agreement wit Alliance Airlines.
Qantas will launch three new domestic routes form Darwin including service to Canberra, Cairns and Townsville. Flights between Darwin and Dili (East Timor) have been operating since February 2021 in partnership with the Australian Government in order to maintain essential connectivity. The service will now become a permanent commercial route with three weekly flights, increasing to five flights per week from July 2022.
Commenting on the new Darwin base, Qantas Group’s CEO, Alan Joyce, said,
“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. Basing these aircraft in Darwin means securing more jobs and a stronger local aviation industry. As we prepare to welcome back international visitors, the E190s will make it easier to fly directly between Darwin and other popular tourist destinations including Alice Springs for central Australia, encouraging travellers to see more of Australia.
“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.”
All Embraer E190s activated under the agreement with Alliance Airlines will be progressively repainted in QantasLink livery. The Qantas Group currently operates a total of 18 routes from Darwin, Alice Springs and Ayers Rock Airports, and connects Darwin directly to eight domestic destinations.