Qantas is dropping Dubai from its network and will instead have its Europe-bound aircraft stop over in Singapore, in a major shake-up that repositions it towards the booming Asian market.
The airline said on Thursday it would reroute its daily Sydney – London A380 service to fly via Singapore instead of Dubai from March 2018. That service will replace one of its two daily Sydney – Singapore A330 flights.
Qantas had already announced its Melbourne – London service will fly non-stop to Europe out of Perth on its new Dreamliners starting in March, meaning the airline will not have any flights to Dubai.
Flights to Singapore from Melbourne are also being ramped up as part of the overhaul, with Qantas’ daily service upgraded from a 235-seat A330 to a 484-seat A380 and its thrice weekly A330 service increased to a daily service.
Melbourne passengers will have the option to transfer in Singapore onto a flight to London as an alternative to the 17-hour leg out of Perth.
Qantas codeshare partner Emirates will continue to fly 77 weekly services to its base in Dubai, connecting to destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which passengers will be able to book through Qantas.
The two airlines said on Thursday they would apply to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for a five-year extension to their alliance deal.
Qantas said it no longer needed to fly its own aircraft to Dubai as most of its passengers flew only to London and passengers flying elsewhere in Europe already flew their entire journey on Emirates.
“That means we can redirect some of our A380 flying into Singapore and meet the strong demand we’re seeing in Asia,” chief executive Alan Joyce said.
Australia’s biggest airline last said last week it was looking to do away with stop-overs en route to London all together, and had challenged manufacturers Airbus and Boeing to produce aircraft it could fly non-stop to the UK by 2022.
Qantas said the changes announced on Thursday would deliver it net benefits of more than $80 million a year from 2019.
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