Qantas is re-opening international flight bookings on all its regular routes from July 1, 2020. Qantas has consistently targeted mid-2021 as the resumption date for its international services. Now, six months out, Qantas is sticking to that timeline. But not everything is reverting back to normal. The Qantas A380s will remain on the ground. Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will fill the breach, including operating the iconic QF1/QF2 service between Sydney and London.
Sayonara to the A380 as Qantas puts the Dreamliner on the Kangaroo Route
As reported by David Flynn in Executive Traveller, the Dreamliner will be taking over from the A380 on the London route for the foreseeable future. It’s not just the London flights that are going back on the books. Qantas is re-opening booking from July 1 to all its usual international destinations. The 787-9 will replace the A380 on most of the regular Qantas A380 routes.
Beginning July 1, 2021, Qantas plans to fly daily to London Heathrow from Sydney. The Qantas website has the Dreamliner pushing back at Sydney at 15:55 and landing at 06:35 the following morning. The flight will go via Singapore. Flying time between Sydney and Singapore is eight hours and 20 minutes. QF1 will land in Singapore at 22:15. After a 90 minute stopover, the flight departs Singapore at 23:45 for the 13 hour and 50-minute trek across Heathrow.
The daily return service to Sydney, QF2, will depart London Heathrow at 21:05 every evening from July 1. After a 13 hour plus flight, QF will touch down in Singapore at 17:25 the following day. Following a two hour pitstop, QF2 heads out at 19:30 and lands in Sydney at 05:10 the following morning. Just in time for a much-needed shower and breakfast.
A new plane but a familiar schedule for Kangaroo Route regulars
It’s a familiar schedule for regulars on the QF1/QF2 run. But many passengers will lament the absence of the A380 on the Kangaroo Route. While the Dreamliner features the rather nice up-to-the-minute Qantas Business Suites, the bulk of travelers stuck in the economy class cabin have traditionally preferred the roomier A380s.
But with Qantas not planning to bring the A380s back into service until 2023 at the earliest and the Boeing 747-400s retired last year, Qantas international passengers will invariably find themselves on either a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner or Airbus A330 until then.
Is the resumption of normal international services in July overly optimistic?
While there are plenty of Australians with itchy feet keen to go somewhere, anywhere, a blanket resumption of Qantas international services on July 1 seems optimistic. Nearly twelve months into COVID-19 and the attendant travel restrictions, the virus is still running rampant, particularly in key Qantas international destinations like London.
Even if the new vaccines prove effective, they will take some time to rollout. The Australian Government hasn’t yet rolled out the vaccine there, preferring to sit off and wait a couple of months to see how it goes elsewhere.
There remains no commonly internationally recognized digital vaccination certificate and no consensus among governments regarding one. Qantas has already said it won’t be carrying passengers on its international services who aren’t vaccinated. But given the sluggish nature of government, the idea that the infrastructure and screening processes needed to support efficient international traveling will be up and running in under six months does seem optimistic. Many travelers feel a resumption date later in 2021 is a more realistic option.
What do you think? Is Qantas overly being overly optimistic targeting a July 1 resumption of international services? Post a comment and let us know.