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Australia-London non-stop fares set cat among pigeons

May 2, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Qantas has announced its fare levels for the start of non-stop Perth-London services next March and tickets are reportedly selling fast – but Western Australia wants to know why return travel in the other direction, from London to Perth, is so much cheaper than booking from Australia.

Daily flights on the new Qantas route begin on 24 March 2018 and form part of a new Melbourne-Perth-London return B787-9 Dreamliner service.

Year-round return economy fares for the Melbourne-London and Perth-London routes start from AUD 2270 but are expected to drop below AUD 2000 during sale periods, Qantas has confirmed. Year-round return premium economy fares start from AUD 4450 between Melbourne and London and from AUD 4250 between Perth and London. Year-round return business fares start from AUD 9890 return between Melbourne and London and from AUD 9725 between Perth and London.

According to Perth Today, travellers from Perth will pay up to a third more for a seat on the non-stop flights to London than London-originating passengers will pay to fly in the opposite direction – and the Western Australian Government wants to know why.

Qantas B787-9 Dreamliner. Source, Qantas

Pricing travel more keenly in overseas markets is nothing new, but the previous government of Western Australia invested AUD 14 million of WA taxpayers’ money for upgrades to Perth Airport to help secure the direct flight. That makes the pricing issue sensitive.

The disparity occurs in all classes but is particularly apparent in business class, where a return ticket from Perth to London costs one third more than a flight in the opposite direction. The Perth originating ticket starts at AUD 9725, whereas the same seat in the other direction, from London to Perth, is priced from GBP 4240 (AUD 7333) – a difference of 33%.

A direct comparison of one-stop flight fares with the new non-stop Perth-Sydney option is difficult, because not all airlines list fares that far ahead. But for travel in May this year, the cheapest return tickets on the Perth- Heathrow route cost about AUD 1260 (Thai International) and the lowest Qantas fare is about AUD 1690.

The new Qantas services will be operated by Qantas’ new B787-9 Dreamliner – an aircraft designed specifically for comfort on long-haul sectors.

Customers from other Australian cities will be able to connect to London via Perth, while inbound passengers will be able to transfer from the West Australian capital to onward destinations across the country. Qantas also expects an increase in stopovers within Western Australia.

The new QF9/10 will replace Qantas’ existing Melbourne-Dubai-London services – which Qantas say marks the next evolution of the Kangaroo Route, seven decades after the national carrier first flew Australians all the way to London.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says there has been global interest in the Perth-London flights since they were announced in December 2016.

“The Kangaroo Route has kept changing with new technology. It used to take four days and seven stops but now we’re able to link Australia and UK in a single hop,” Joyce said last week.

“It’s a level of convenience Australians have never had before. We’re conscious that this is a long flight, but not much longer than our Sydney to Dallas service. It’s the kind of route that the Dreamliner was created for, because of its built-in features to reduce jetlag and improve the overall travel experience.

“We’ve added a very high level of comfort in each of the cabins and a lower seat count than most of our competitors. And we’re making tweaks to our in-flight service designed to help customers enjoy the journey more.”

Joyce said direct routes tended to stimulate new travel demand by making it easier to get to a destination – something that will benefit the West Australian economy and Australian tourism more broadly.

“This route makes Western Australia a new tourism gateway for Australia. We know from our research that there’s a lot of appetite to explore the West, not just from British and European visitors but also from Aussies on their way to London. A lot of business travellers, particularly in the resources sector, will stop off in Perth on their way to the UK.”

Qantas is building a new international transit lounge at Perth Airport. People joining the flight to London from other parts of Australia (including regional Western Australia and Adelaide) will find it a smooth transition with international and domestic flights arriving and departing from the same terminal, complete with dedicated customs and immigration. More details on the transit experience at Perth will be announced next month.

Qantas has expanded its marketing partnership with Tourism Western Australia to maximise the tourism benefits of the new service, and will also make Perth-London the focus of the next phase of its Feels Like Home advertising campaign launching today on Qantas’ social channels and on 30 April 2017 across TV, outdoor, in-terminal and via channels.

The emotional campaign will also run in the UK. Since launching in 2014, the Feels Like Home adverts have clocked up over 17 million views on social media channels alone.

QF9/10 FLIGHT SCHEDULE

Flight Depart Arrive Days Aircraft
QF 9 MEL-PER 15:20 17:20 Daily B787-9
QF 9 PER-LHR 18:50 05:10 Daily B787-9
QF 10 LHR-PER^ 13:30 13:15 Daily B787-9
QF 10 PER-MEL^ 14:45 20:10 Daily B787-9
QF 95 MEL-LAX^ 21:40 19:00 Six days (not Tuesday) B787-9

Written by Peter Needham

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