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Qantas confirms non-stop London flights will restart on 14th November – to Darwin, not Perth

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Qantas has confirmed that it will restart its non-stop flights between London and Australia on 14th November.

Due to restrictions on using Perth (the route used to operate directly from London to Perth), flights will land in Darwin.

From Darwin, the aircraft will – after a short stop – carry on to either Melbourne or Sydney. All flights will continue to Sydney until 18th December due to current restrictions in Melbourne.

This arrangement will remain in place until at least April 2022, by which point Qantas hopes to restart London to Perth. It has left the door open to retaining the route to Darwin if it performs well.

Oddly, it will not be possible to book a flight from London to Darwin due to restrictions on entering the city. Passengers will be confined to the international part of the airport until the aircraft has been cleaned and prepared for the onward flight to Sydney or Melbourne.

As soon as restrictions are eased in Darwin, it will be possible to book flights directly to the city or build in a Darwin stopover.

Note that Australia will not be accepting tourists initially. These flights are only for Australian residents and those with specific permission to enter the country.

The service will operate five days per week. The leg from London to Darwin is 13,800 km and is a 17 hour 20 minute non-stop flight.

Qantas does not accept unvaccinated passengers on international flights.

You can, in theory, book this flight using Avios – as Qantas is a oneworld alliance member alongside British Airways – but premium cabin seating has always been incredibly difficult to find.

The Qantas website is here.

Our guide to earning Qantas Points from UK credit cards is here.

Comments (30)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Paul Legg says:

    Not quite true. It flew in this morning!

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    Very good news.

    Looking for a clear definition on the the acceptable reasons for travel for business purposes, does anyone have them?

    • Jonathan says:

      Rob has clearly stated that Australia’s borders are shut to everyone apart from Australian citizens, people who have permanent residence permits there, and people have a valid, compelling reason to be granted a visa which they need to have, they won’t let be letting in any other different types of visitors, for now at least

    • Harry T says:

      Good luck getting in lol

    • Sam says:

      I don’t suppose ‘travelling for business purpose’ is something that can permit you to enter Australia if you are not an Australian resident or holding a valid visa in hand in the first place.

  • QFFlyer says:

    Premium cabin availability has been excellent, since all seats on all flights that week are available for booking using Qantas points.

  • John says:

    The LHR-DRW flights are not *restarting*, as they have been operating fortnightly for several months already. The changes are that frequency is ramping up and more people will be able to continue to SYD on the same flight rather than going into a construction worker camp for 2 weeks.

    I’m surprised at how fast the AU and NSW government’s tunes have changed actually. If not for Delta escaping I’m sure they would still want to continue hermit mode for a good while longer as the vaccination rates would have remained slow. But it was always going to escape when you have staff going about the quarantine hotels and then going home every day.

    What remains to be seen is what “home quarantine” means for the Australians who don’t currently have a home in Australia (like me).

    • Nathan says:

      Is there any reliable data as to why vaccination levels are what they are? (just curious)

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        Some poorly handled information, standard antivax misinformation, some very badly bungled supply issues, and a lack of urgency in the population. Our vax programme started while we were in hard lockdown with 1000 people per day dying. It was seen as the way out of lockdown so uptake was massive. In Aus the uptake correlates by state fairly cleanly with how hard and how long a lockdown they are now enduring.

      • Louie says:

        In the early days, Australia had no local infections and being an island a long way from anywhere, thought they could keep it that way. So they didn’t hurry to roll out the vaccination programme – for example, no emergency authorisation for the vaccines – and the locals didn’t feel a need to take new vaccines, allowing everyone else around the world to test them first. Then when they did start the programme, the press demonised AZ, which was freely available as it is made in Australia, whilst Pfizer was in short supply. Then covid arrived via international flight crew and most people pulled their fingers out, especially in NSW and Victoria, and got vaccinated at pretty much the fastest rate in the world. Now we have a country split into two – NSW, ACT, Victoria and to a lesser South Australia acknowledging that they have to get on with life, whilst Tasmania, the NT and especially Western Australia and Queensland still denying that the lurgy will get past their borders, which in turn means their population aren’t rushing to get jabbed. Which means the country is split into two (and no Qantas to Perth any time soon).

        • QFFlyer says:

          With the added bonus of the elephant in the room in WA, a state premier desperate to keep the virus out because his political career depends on it and his state’s health system is over capacity even without the virus (Google ambulance ramping in WA)…

  • Mikeact says:

    At long last…looking to book another multi carrier award for later next year, if it works out. My UK neice and family finally made it to Adelaide last week to take up a new health care job.The price of their four tickets? £20k !

    • LostAntipod says:

      Lucky them. I was perusing kayak this morning for a trip next may for my brother’s 50th (my first trip home since Dec 19) and QF out of LHR was £7.5k i J. Screw that for a game of soldiers. QR from CPH at £2.3k for the win.

  • Andy says:

    Disappointing that the Australian Government are prioritising students over tourists (families). I understand why (universities need their money), but what is the difference between a double jabbed student flying in from oversees to a double jabbed visitor from oversees, especially if they are both from the same country….?

    • Paul Pogba says:

      Education is Australias fourth biggest export, tourism fifth; they’re prioritising by economic impact. I’d also guess the education lobby is more concentrated in the Group of Eight universities while tourism is fragmented among hoteliers, theme parks, tour companies, etc…

    • John says:

      Well, if your family are NSW residents they will be allowed to go overseas to see you

    • Aisak says:

      Students tend to stay for a whole year. Tourists do not. The flow of in-n-out possible virus-bearers is completely different.

  • Dubious says:

    Darwin has an unusual setup for departing passengers. You first go through full security (the usual type you would expect at an airport) and find yourself in a departure lounge…which turns out to be a Domestic Departure Lounge…

    You then have to go through a second set of full security to get to the International Departures.

    It’s slightly bonkers because you can end up buying a bottle of water in the initial lounge only to discover there’s another set of X-rays to get through…

    Obviously not applicable to the flights in this article, but worth bearing in mind in the future if people do book managed to domestic stopovers.

    • Jeff Greene says:

      “ It’s slightly bonkers because you can end up buying a bottle of water in the initial lounge”

      It’s ridiculous that this liquid in hand luggage nonsense still goes on.

      • Jonathan says:

        Bizarrely enough in the interests of aviation security…

        • Max says:

          Even more bizzare if you consider that Israel, one of the most threatened countries with the strictest security measures, has no problems with liquids and still permits you to bring them with you when flying.

        • Jeff Greene says:

          Banning a plastic bottle of Evian but allowing a razor blade is in the interests of aviation security?


    • John says:

      Hmm, I’ve not flown through DRW but if the first screening is to domestic standards, you would be able to take liquids in and also anyone can enter even without a ticket.

      The second screening would be the international one with no liquids and ticketed passengers only.

    • aussiemiss says:

      It’s not that unusual. Adelaide is the same. It’s because most flights at the airport are domestic so don’t have the extra restrictions like liquid etc. The main lounge (ie Qantas) in Adelaide is in the domestic part too as it’s joint domestic/international. They only open up the tiny additional international departure screening/immigration part before an international flight just before the flight.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      Gold Coast Airport is exactly the same. It’s fine taking a bottle of water or wine or whatever into a domestic departure lounge in Australia. There’s also no problem boarding a domestic flight without showing ID, generally.

      However, foreign governments insist on tighter rules, so things are stricter for international flights. For airports that use different terminals for international flights (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, etc) this isn’t much of an issue. For smaller airports with only one terminal you have the double security thing.

    • ADS says:

      it’s a bit similar in some European airports

      With most flights being within the Schengen zone … you have a second set of controls to enter the inner sanctum of the non Schengen section !

  • ADS says:

    Whilst I’d love to see the a380 pictured fly the route … it will be a Boeing 787-9 which will operate QF1

    • Paul Pogba says:

      What modifications have QF made to the 787-9 that means its capable of the non-stop flight? Is there any reason BA, EY, QR, VS couldn’t run the route?

      • ADS says:

        Standard B787-9 range is 13,950 km
        LHR-DRW is 13,872 km
        LHR-PER is 14,499 km

        To achieve the extra distance Qantas has just 236 seat on their 787-9s (42 business, 28 PE, 166 economy) – compared to the 335 seats that Jetsar apparently have on the same plane

        Qantas also have things like ultra light crockery and cutlery, as well as gaining agreement to take the most economical routing

        Occasionally they did have to make a refuelling stop (especially if their routing is restricted by airspace closures in Iran etc)

        But yeah, other airlines could run direct flights if they wanted to

        • Paul Pogba says:

          Interesting, the BA fleet facts gives their 787-9 as having a range of 15,400km while Qantas have theirs at 14,498km – but I note BA are fitted with Trent 1000, Qantas the GEnx.

          Sounds like its achievable with the correct loading and flight plan, it will be interesting to see if BA think it’s worth tying up an aircraft.

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