Qantas is closer to basing its direct flight with London out of Darwin as concerns have been raised over border restrictions with Western Australia. The move will see the Perth to London service temporary halted until April next year.
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from NT News 27.09.21
DARWIN is edging closer to direct flights to London, with Qantas set to detail an alternate route after announcing it has shelved the Perth-London service until April next year.
Qantas announced on Monday morning it is involved in detailed discussions with the Northern Territory Government and Darwin Airport about potential re-routing.
A final decision is expected within a fortnight.
Internationally, flights are still on track to gradually restart from December 18, 2021 when Australia is expected to have reached National Cabinet’s 80 per cent vaccine vaccination target.
The proposed Melbourne-Darwin-London service is dependent on managing domestic and international travel under the NT government’s Covid-19 recovery plan.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the pace of the national vaccine roll-out had raised hopes international borders will soon re-open.
“At this stage, WA doesn’t intend to open to international travel until sometime next year, so we’ll unfortunately have to temporarily move our Perth-London service until at least April 2022,” Mr Joyce said.
“Instead of operating from Melbourne to Perth and then on to London as it usually does, this flight will operate from Melbourne to London via either Darwin or Singapore, depending on conversations we’re having with the NT in the coming weeks.
“We look forward to operating this flight via Perth again when circumstances allow.
“We’re in regular discussions with all the states and territories, and will continue to make adjustments, including increasing flying as soon as border settings allow.”
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said re-routing flights from Darwin to London would be a significant boost to the Territory.
“We are Australia’s comeback capital and a direct Darwin-London flight would be a massive feat showcasing the Territory to the world,” Mr Gunner said.
“This is why I have directed the most senior public servants to get cracking on this, and as a priority work with the Darwin Airport and Qantas to make it happen.
“My number one focus is keeping Territorians safe, but we must plan for a time when overseas travel resumes so we can bounce back stronger than ever.”