As Qantas moves its flagship Perth to London flight to the Top End instead, a string of new domestic routes will also be launched.

In response to Qantas dumping Perth in favour of Darwin to be the home of the airline’s direct flight to London, the carrier has announced a number of new routes to get more people to the Northern Territory.

Last week, Qantas announced it will be moving its direct Perth to London route in favour of Darwin, simply because Western Australia’s tough borders appear unlikely to budge and reopen anytime soon.

The direct route from Australia to the UK, while only temporary, will stick around until at least April 2022.

To make getting to the NT more accessible for all, QantasLink will soon operate three weekly return services from Darwin to Townsville, commencing on January 31 and Darwin to Cairns, on March 29.

Qantas confirmed the major change on where the airline will operate its flagship direct route from Australia to London, following the Federal Government’s announcement of a November reopening of international borders.

The new route arrangement will be in time for borders reopening in mid-November, however with NSW surging ahead in double-dose vaccinations, a time frame earlier than that is on the cards for the state.

The airline said that while the change was “temporary”, the airline will monitor how it performs compared to the original Perth to London route is “open-minded” about what it could lead to down the track.

The Sydney-Darwin-London route will begin on November 14 while the Melbourne-Darwin-London route is currently scheduled to begin on December 18, 2021 but could start earlier depending on discussions with the Victorian Government.

QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new flights will play a key role in reducing travel time for Northern Australians who want to fly direct to the UK.

“Both Queensland and the Northern Territory have played a key role over Qantas’ 100-year history and we’re pleased to be creating stronger connections between these great parts of Australia with two new routes,” said Mr Gissing.

“As well as offering more options for business travellers who we know commute regularly between these cities, the flights will also make it easier for Australians to explore the world class destinations in the Territory and Far North Queensland.

“These routes will help more travellers discover the incredible Northern Territory, helping local businesses in their recovery from the impact of Covid. We’ll also be promoting the Territory to tourists from London and beyond when transiting passengers on our international flights have the option to visit Darwin down the track.”

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia’s international borders could re-open for vaccinated travellers in NSW as early as November 1 under a fast-tracked plan.

The proposal outlined by Mr Morrison came after discussions with the new NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet about fast-tracking the rollout of home quarantine.

The move away from 14 days of hotel quarantine for vaccinated travellers is regarded as a crucial step before international travel can start ramping up to pre-pandemic levels. Trials are currently away in several states, including NSW where eligible returning travellers can quarantine at home for just seven days. understands the date being looked at for the reopening of international borders under a home quarantine model is November 1.

With Samantha Maiden

Read related topics:PerthQantas