Qantas has confirmed it will operate its flagship direct route from Australia to London via Darwin when international flights resume next month with the reopening of the border.
The national carrier has reached an agreement with the Northern Territory government and Darwin Airport to temporarily reroute its flights from Melbourne and Sydney through Darwin.
The Darwin hub arrangement will be in place in time for borders reopening from November 14th until at least April next year when London flights are scheduled to operate via Perth again.
While this is a temporary change to the route, Qantas said it would “watch how it performs and is open-minded about what it could lead to down the track”.
The Sydney-Darwin-London route will begin on November 14th, while the Melbourne-Darwin-London route is currently scheduled to begin on December 18th.
However, it could start earlier depending on discussions with the Victorian government on shorter quarantine arrangements for returning travellers.
Qantas Group chief executive, Alan Joyce, said the new route via Darwin will be made possible due to the support from the Northern Territory government who have been instrumental in helping Qantas facilitate the new route in a post Covid-19 operating environment.
He added: “The Kangaroo route is one of the most iconic on the Qantas international network and we are delighted that Darwin will play a vital role in Australia’s post pandemic reopening to the world.
“Qantas has been flying repatriation services from London to Darwin as part of the airline’s efforts to help bring Australians home over the past 12 months, so our pilots already have extensive experience operating this particular route.”