New routes, extra services and sadly some cancellations. This industry update brings you the latest news of new flight arrivals and some permanent departures.
Qantas from Story Bridge to Golden Gate Bridge & more flying kangaroos
You can now fly direct from Brisbane to San Francisco. The new Qantas service started on 9 February and they are operating a new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route. The 12-hour 40 minute, 11,367km Brisbane to San Francisco (QF59) service marks the first time the River City and the Bay City have been linked by non-stop flights. The new Brisbane flight will operate three days a week on a Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
In April, Qantas will start flying from Brisbane to Chicago, as it adds another unique route to its network using the Dreamliner.
From 1 May, Qantas will begin flights between Orange and Sydney, bringing much needed competition to the skies of Central West NSW. QantasLink will fly 11 return flights between Orange and Sydney on a mix of Q300 and Q200 aircraft. This new service will add more than 45,000 seats on the route each year.
Qantas will more than double its flights between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island, following the Regional Express (Rex) withdrawal from the route. From July, QantasLink will operate 12 return services per week throughout the year. This is an increase from the existing schedule of five return flights per week, and three return services during off-peak. The additional flights will go on sale later this month and will be operated by QantasLink’s 50 seat Q-300 aircraft. Sale fares will start as low as $99 one-way.
Virgin Australia suspends Hong Kong services
Virgin Australia will withdraw its services between Australia and Hong Kong. The announcement comes after a comprehensive review of the route. The Hong Kong market has remained challenging for the airline and demand has continued to decline following ongoing civil unrest. These factors, combined with growing uncertainty around the recent coronavirus outbreak, have led to the airline’s decision to cease operating services.
Virgin Australia previously announced the suspension of its Melbourne-Hong Kong services in November 2019, which took effect on 11 February. The Sydney-Hong Kong service will cease operating from 2 March, 2020.
Singapore Airlines speeds up connections from Perth
From 1 June, Singapore Airlines will add a fifth daily flight out of Perth. The service will be scheduled to link with the airline’s early morning flights to Europe, South Africa and Japan. Likewise, Perth-bound travellers coming into Singapore on SQ and SilkAir flights from Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Jakarta will have shorter connection times.
If approved, the new SQ230 will leave Perth at 6.40pm to reach Singapore at 12.10am the next morning. The SQ229 return leg departs Singapore at 12.20pm for a 5.20pm landing at Perth.
Singapore Airlines also recently announced plans for a joint venture with ANA – which flies daily between Perth and Tokyo. The partnership, subject to approval by the relevant authorities in each country, would encompass flights between Japan and Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.
Air Italy exits after two years
Air Italy has announced that it will suspend operations from the 25 February, 2020. The Italian carrier was founded in March, 2018, and will be liquidated this month following a meeting of shareholders. Flights are operating as normal up until and including 25 February, albeit by other carriers. Those with bookings beyond this date will be refunded.
Qatar Airways is a key shareholder in the airline, owning 49%. Qatar issued a statement regarding Air Italy’s insolvency proceedings. The airline said that it “was ready once again to play its part in supporting the growth of the airline”. However, this would “only have been possible with the commitment of all shareholders”. As such, it seems that not everybody was on board with the idea of rescuing the carrier. The company was the second largest airline in Italy, following Italy’s flag carrier Alitalia.