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Qantas to operate its Dreamliners on Singapore-Melbourne services

The service is a downgauge from the daily A380 service, along with 15% capacity reductions across Asia services to Australia

Qantas will be operating its newest fleet – the Boeing Dreamliner 787-9s – on the Singapore-Melbourne route from an unspecified time until May.

The service is a response to the on-going Covid-19 crisis, which have seen airlines around the world slashing capacity as people think twice about international travel during this period of time.

What is changing?

The current QF35/36 service between Singapore and Melbourne is operated by an A380, which can carry up to 484 passengers. This will be replaced by the Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 from 30 March up to 24 May, which will carry 236 passengers in three classes.

The second daily Melbourne service, operated as QF37/38, operated using an A330, will only be cancelled on selected days in the month of March. Details below:

Betwen 9 and 29 Mar 2020:

SectorFlight no.ArrivalDepartureDurationAircraft typeDay of ops
SIN – MELQF3620150635(+1)7h 20mA380Daily
SIN – MELQF38234010107h 30mA330Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun
MEL -SINQF35121518158hA380Daily
MEL – SINQF37172022157h 55mA330Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun

Between 30 March and 24 May 2020:

SectorFlight no.ArrivalDepartureDurationAircraft typeDay of ops
SIN – MELQF3620150535(+1)*7h 20mB787-9Daily
SIN – MELQF3823300900*7h 30mA330Daily
MEL -SINQF351215*18158hB787-9Daily
MEL – SINQF371555*22057h 55mA330Daily

*flight departs & arrives one hour later between 30 Mar & 4 Apr due to daylight savings time

Qantas Dreamliner Premium Economy cabin

The change of aircraft also means that there will not be any first class service to Melbourne for now, given that Qantas only has first class on the A380 fleet.

First class passengers on Qantas will now have to fly via Sydney

For first class customers out of Singapore or transferring from London, this will mean that they will have to fly via Sydney if they wish to retain their first class seat. The transfer experience in Sydney is pretty horrific though, so I’m not sure if that’s actually worth the hassle, plus the additional three hours of journey time.

Qantas is also slashing Hong Kong capacity

Qantas currently operates four daily services between Hong Kong and Australia – 2 daily flights to Sydney, and one each to Brisbane and Melbourne.

Given the current situation, Qantas will be slashing almost half the flights. Services between Sydney and Hong Kong will be reduced to one daily, while flights to Brisbane and Melbourne from Hong Kong will be reduced to 4 and 5 times weekly respectively.

What Qantas says

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce had said the outbreak had led to a drop in demand for flights across the region.

We have a lot of flexibility in how we respond across the Group. We can extend these cuts, cut deeper if we need to, or add capacity back in. Maintaining our strategic position is also key.

We know demand into Asia – particularly, China – will rebound, and we’ll be able to ramp up when it does.

In the meantime, we’ll minimise the impact of reduced flying on our people by using annual leave – tapping into what is a significant balance across Qantas.

And we’ll take advantage of having the equivalent of 18 aircraft on the ground by bringing forward maintenance.

When you combine the capacity action we’re taking, with the drop in fuel price since Coronavirus escalated, we expect to mitigate the total impact on our bottom line to somewhere between $100 million and $150 million in the second half.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce

Final thoughts

While the virus has brought about a global reduction of capacity, there are some upsides to these changes. The Qantas Dreamliner is finally coming to Singapore, and it boasts one of the world’s best premium economy cabins so if you are looking to splurge a little – here’s your chance!

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