BY JAMES WILKINSON
Qantas has outlined changes to Singapore services from Australia, with flights being re-timed and some dropped as the airline gets closer to firming up its new partnership with Dubai-based Emirates.
Qantas has made changes to Singapore services
The revised routes – Sydney-Dubai-London and Melbourne-Dubai-London – are expected to commence on March 31, 2013, subject to ACCC approval, and come at the expense of Singapore services, which are being maintained on a daily basis from Melbourne but being trimmed back from Sydney.
Sydney-Singapore is currently being operated 17 times per week – 14 of those services are direct and the other three via Adelaide – by a mix of Airbus A380, Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A330 aircraft and the re-routing of London flights will see that drop to 14 and eventually just seven by later next year.
Qantas says in the shift “timings will improve” on Singapore services to “better connect to onward flights within Asia”.
Onward flights to London will be axed from the end of March in favour of Heathrow flights operating via Dubai, while Frankfurt will cease in October 2013 with Emirates placing Qantas codes on its services.
Frankfurt flights were originally expected to cease in March in-line with the Singapore-Heathrow changes, however the extension was revealed by Qantas today.
“We will continue to operate Sydney-Singapore-Frankfurt until October 2013,” a Qantas spokesperson told SpiceNews.
“Whilst the frequency of [direct] services between Sydney and Singapore will reduce from 14 to 11 for this phase of the schedule change, Qantas will be offering more dedicated seats to passengers on this route from 31 March as the flights will no longer be operating through to London.
“Qantas expects to increase total seats on the route by approximately 40% once further changes are finalised following receipt of regulatory authorisation on our ATI application,” the spokesperson said.
While the Joint Services Agreement (JSA) with British Airways will also come to an end on March 31, Qantas has confirmed it will continue to codeshare with BA on flights between Singapore and London.
At this stage it remains unclear whether Qantas will still codeshare on British Airways flights from Bangkok to London, a change made earlier this year that saw Qantas cease flying from Bangkok to London and BA ceasing Bangkok-Sydney services.
Qantas’ CEO of International operations, Simon Hickey, said the changes to European routes would be a benefit to travellers.
“The proposed partnership with Emirates will offer Qantas customers one-stop access to more than 30 destinations in Europe compared with the five we offer now,” he said.
“The benefits for the travelling public are clear and feedback we’ve had since the Emirates partnership was announced has been overwhelmingly positive.”
While the ACCC is yet to approve the new partnership, Qantas has today (Oct 4) allowed customers to progressively book services on the new schedule for travel from March 31.
“By releasing our schedules now, travellers can book their trips beyond March 2013 with confidence based on the new Qantas international route map,” Hickey said.
Qantas is expected to announce the new timings for flights in the near future.