17 April 2015 © David Eyre
A year after abandoning regular international services from Perth, Qantas has announced that it from 26 June 2015, the airline will restart flights between Perth and Singapore, using Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
The new service will operate five flights per week between Perth and Singapore, and introductory one-way fares are available for a limited time, starting at $199. The schedule is as follows:
- MON/WED/FRI/SUN (Boeing 737-800): QF71 dep Perth at 12:00pm – arr Singapore at 5:20pm/ QF72 dep Singapore at 6.25pm – arr Perth 11.40pm;
- SAT (Boeing 737-800): QF71 dep Perth at 11:30pm – arr Singapore at 4:50pm/ QF72 dep Singapore at 5.50pm – arr Perth 11.05pm.
Western Australians are happy that Qantas will resume regular international services from Perth, but some are disappointed with the choice of narrowbody Boeing 737s. Competitors offer large widebody aircraft; Singapore Airlines operates four flights per day with larger Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, whilst its low-cost subsidiary Scoot offers once daily services with the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Qantas Group low-cost airline Jetstar Asia operates 13 flights between Perth and Singapore each week, using narrowbody A320 aircraft.
Qantas previously used Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route, but says it is now matching aircraft and schedules with customer demand. The airline says that passengers will have access to seat back in-flight entertainment and new meals. The 737s also have a 12-seat Business Class cabin, with those passengers receiving special meals and Qantas pyjamas provided on the Singapore to Perth.
Qantas ended its regular Perth to Singapore service in May 2014, with CEO Alan Joyce blaming increased competition and fuel prices (which have since decreased). However, Qantas operated seasonal services on the route in peak holiday periods. In August 2014, Qantas mentioned a “Plan B” for Perth, with plans to relaunch the Perth-Singapore service “with a different approach.”
In the 12 months to September 2014, 78,800 visitors from Singapore spent $193 million in WA. Those figures represent a 30 per cent increase in visitors and a 21 per cent increase in spend on the year before.
Qantas also announced that their new domestic Business Lounge should open later this year, and that there are an additional two weekly return services between Perth and Brisbane, for a total of up to 30 flights between the two cities every week.