Qantas swaps Dubai for Singapore as stopover hub on London-Sydney trip

'The Qantas network will eventually feature a handful of direct routes between Europe and Australia'

Simon Calder
Travel correspondent
Thursday 31 August 2017 14:51 BST
Flight plan: Qantas Airbus A380 lands at Sydney
Flight plan: Qantas Airbus A380 lands at Sydney (Qantas)

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Thousands of UK airline passengers booked to fly to or through Dubai have woken up to find they have been re-booked or re-routed.

Qantas, the leading Australian airline, has announced it will switch the refuelling stop on its flagship route from Heathrow to Sydney and back. Dubai is to be ditched from March 2018 as the airline reverts to a Singapore refuelling stop.

Five years ago, Qantas linked up with Emirates and switched its UK-Australia flights from Singapore to Dubai.

The Australian airline has already announced that the London-Melbourne flights will avoid Dubai from next March by flying non-stop from Heathrow to Perth.

The Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, said: “Our partnership has evolved to a point where Qantas no longer needs to fly its own aircraft through Dubai, and that means we can redirect some of our A380 flying into Singapore and meet the strong demand we’re seeing in Asia.”

He also held out the prospect of non-stop flights between Heathrow and Sydney.

“Improvements in aircraft technology mean the Qantas network will eventually feature a handful of direct routes between Europe and Australia,” he said.

A non-stop London-Sydney flight would take around 20 hours, saving around three hours compared with the present one-stop. With the Singapore stop, the London-Sydney trip will be slightly shorter due to flying a more direct track.

Qantas currently flies around 2,000 passengers per day to, from or through Dubai International, which represents less than one per cent of the airport’s throughput. Heathrow lost its title as the world's busiest airport for international passengers to Dubai.

The Qantas move increases capacity between London and Singapore, which will add to the challenge faced on the route by Norwegian. The low-cost airline will launch flights from Gatwick to Changi airport in Singapore from 28 September this year.

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