After a nearly one year hiatus, Qantas have confirmed it will resume flights between Perth and Singapore. The service, operating five return flights a week using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft from 26 June 2015, follows a number of rumours in recent months.
The service marks a welcome return to the route by Qantas, although the business class seating on the 737 is a significant downgrade to what is offered on Qantas’ longhaul fleet, including the Airbus A330 aircraft which previously operated this service (which we reviewed on a flight from Auckland to Perth).
This will mean Qantas has a significantly more cramped seating configuration than competitor Singapore Airlines offers on the same route, which is about five hours flying time in each direction. Incidentally Singapore Airlines offer the same core seating product that Virgin Australia presently operate on their A330 aircraft which ply coast-to-coast flights in Australia.
Last year Qantas abandoned regular international flights from Perth (save for the summer Auckland / Perth offering), following a restructure of the group’s international operations after consecutive years of losses. The last regularly scheduled service for Perth-Singapore by Qantas was operated on 12 May 2014. This was followed by a short ‘peak period’ service from 3 to 21 July 2014. Since that time the only direct flights operated by the Qantas Group have been through its low cost subsidiary, Jetstar. Naturally this was not a competitive option for high spending passengers on the route.
Update: The new Qantas service will depart on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, departing Perth at noon Perth (QF77) and arriving into the Lion City at 5:20pm, before turning around at 6:25pm to arrive in Perth at 11:40pm (QF78). Flights go on sale today.
This is a welcome resumption of service for Qantas. If the route proves to be popular once again then we expect Qantas will upgrade the aircraft used on the route. It is early days, so only time will tell what Qantas International has in store for Perth next.