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Qantas rejigs flights and times for Singapore, Hong Kong

By David Flynn     Filed under: qantas, Hong Kong, Singapore, Frankfurt

Qantas has revealed the full scope of its new timetable for flights to Asia, and it packs a mix of upsides and downsides for Australian travellers.

It's all about re-examining Asia – and especially Singapore – as a destination rather than a stopover, says Qantas, now that Dubai has become the hub for European flights under the Qantas-Emirates alliance.

"We're making sure we’ve got our Asian strategy buttoned up" Simon Hickey, CEO of Qantas International, told Australian Business Traveller in advance of today's release of the new schedule. "We were actually selling through Asia, not to Asia, and now we’re selling to Asia once again."

Hickey says the retiming of many flights is as much about more sensible arrival times as well as better connections through other airline partners, and not just Jestar Asia.

"Jetstar is one carrier but we’ve got relationships with JAL, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, so it’s about making sure we maximize the connection options for our customers."

"That’s one part of the story but the other part is making sure we’re point-to-point through our business proposition as well. So we’re going to have the right timings, for example, in Singapore that work for business."

Here's a rundown of the changes.

Sydney: swings and roundabouts

Sydney-Hong Kong flights will be reduced to a single daily service from March 31, with the cancellation of the four times per week QF87/88 service  from March 31. This will leave QF127/128 as the sole Sydney-Hong Kong flight, and that will be retimed to leave Sydney slightly earlier (at 9.55am instead of 10.40am).

A new Sydney-Singapore (QF81/82) service will run four days per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) from March 31, increasing to daily from June 24. It'll leave Sydney at 9.40am to reach Singapore at 4pm – ample time to hit your hotel, freshen up and head out to pre-dinner drinks.

Sydney-Bangkok QF23 is another early bird, with departure from Sydney moving forward from 12.15pm to 9.40am as of March 31.

New flights for Melbourne

As of April 15, the newly-introduced daily Melbourne-Singapore QF35 service which begins March 31 will move from 1.40pm to 9.05am out of Melbourne, making a 3.55pm touchdown into Singapore instead of 7.20pm.

This will fill in for the current Melbourne-Singapore-London (QF9/10) A380 flight, which as of March 31 will be rerouted via Dubai.

In addition, Melbourne-Hong Kong QF29 will run four hours earlier as of March 31, leaving Melbourne at 9.35am to reach Hong Kong at 5.10pm.

Brisbane gets a boost

The Brisbane-Hong Kong service (QF97/98) goes up from four flights per week to five in May 6, and then daily from June 24. All flights all run a bit earlier from March 31, however: the new timetable now sees QF97 leaving Brisbane at 10.20am for wheels-down into Hong Kong at 5.25pm.

Another change: Brisbane-Singapore QF51 will run earlier from April 15, leaving Brisbane at 10.20am.

Cancellations and cut-backs for Adelaide, Perth

Adelaide-Singapore (QF81/82) flights will be cancelled from April 14.

The Perth-Hong Kong (QF67/68) service will be cancelled from March 31 while the twice-daily Perth-Singapore service will be reduced to one flight per day (QF77/78) as of April 15.

That flight will be retimed for better connection to onwards flights in Asia while also making a same-day return into Perth (admittedly just shy of midnight).

The new schedule sees QF77 leaving Perth at 9.50am (instead of the current 11.55am) for arrival into Singapore at 3.20pm, and then heading back to Perth as QF78 for an 11.30pm touchdown. 

Frankfurt flights close April 15

The loss-making Sydney-Frankfurt and Melbourne-Frankfurt flights, which were previously slated to close in October, will now cease on April 15.

Qantas travellers looking to reach Frankfurt or indeed any other city in mainland Europe will either need to fly back from London or, much more likely, take advantage of Qantas' codeshare partnership with Emirates, which will involve flying with Qantas or Emirates to Dubai and then transferring to one of Emirates' twice-daily services to Frankfurt.

(Emirates also flies direct to Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Munich, in case Frankfurt was simply your nearest jumping-off point when it came to travelling with Qantas.)

Your Qantas-Emirates options to Asia

The new Qantas-Emirates alliance will provide some additional options for passengers heading from Australia's east coast to Southeast Asia, with Qantas planning to place its QF code on four evening and overnight Emirates flights that stop on their way to Dubai:

  • Melbourne-Singapore's daily QF405, departing at 1900 and arriving at 2350
  • Melbourne-Kuala Lumpur's daily EK409, departing at 0230 and arriving at 0815
  • Sydney-Bangkok's daily EK419, departing at 1845 and arriving at 0110 the next morning
  • Brisbane-Singapore's daily EK433, departing at 0240 and arriving at 0845

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter for the latest updates for business travellers: we're @AusBT.


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 4/2/13 by KG

I thought QF said they would introduce more and better services to Asia with the discontinuation of the Kangaroo route, but it seems like they are just cutting.

Perth losing the HKG flight and reduced to only one daily SIN flight (good news for CX, MH, TG and SQ I would say, as they have onward connections to the rest of Asia).

SYD-HKG will be reduced to one daily only (hopefully they will keep an A380 on the route, judging by the flightnumber it still is).

Now the SYD-SIN will be drastically reduced as far as I can judge. If the daily A380 drops out as well as the daily 747 which now flies to FRA, are we only left with one QF flight?

Do you guys have any news on the aircraft types that will be operating the newly introduced flights?

1 on 4/2/13 by David

"Do you guys have any news on the aircraft types that will be operating the newly introduced flights?"

Nope, Qantas hasn't shared that info as yet.

1 on 4/2/13 by KG

Thanks David,we shall be patient in that case to see what they come up with.....

1 on 4/2/13 by moa999

Some %ge stats on Business Spectator that seemingly suggest upguaging of aircraft given if anything flights are less in number

2 on 4/2/13 by tonywills

747's and A330's

1 on 4/2/13 by KG

I had imagined that, key is which flights will be A330 (inferior to 747, whether the 747's are refurbed or not).

3 on 4/2/13 by madge

My guess would be mostly A330's used for the new flights.

QF81 SYD-SIN will continue as an A330, just skipping the ADL stop. The extra flights to daily can come from the cancellation of QF87 SYD-HKG.

The A330 used for QF67 PER-HKG can be used to up QF97 BNE-HKG to daily.

And the cancelled QF77 PER-SIN can free up an A330 for QF35 MEL-SIN.

2 on 4/2/13 by Skipp

As usual, far more reductions to services than increases. As far as South-Australian and Western Australian residents are concerned, the new Australian International Airline appears to be emerging as Emirates!

Sydney clearly has cut backs across the board with Frankfurt closing 6 months early with now just one daily flight to Singapore from 15th April for Sydney residents (correct me if i'm wrong - i hope I am!). 

KG, I imagine the only Sydney-Hong Kong service will continue to operate the A380 from Thursday to Sunay, with Mon, Tues and Wed served by the older B747.

The re-timing of flights though is a good move.

1 on 4/2/13 by Skipp

Spell error - "Sunday", woops...

2 on 4/2/13 by Skipp

Looking at further media releases. It does appear that Sydney - Singapore will be a twice daily service... (Fingers crossed, it is...)

3 on 4/2/13 by tonywills

 How predictable - Adelaide has gone yet again - Oh well - SQ can now go double daily there as they have almost done anyway. There is Emirates that sneaks out just before the curfew kicks in so that they can arrive along with about 20 other aircraft at 5 AM into the Dubai airport madness and rudeness. Perth - Again SQ wins the day. As for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane?? - There are obviously better choices on A380's and 777's than refurbished 747's with QF. The thought of QF and transfer to Jetstar for other Asian destinations - doesn't even come close to SQ, CX or TG. Then of course, there is the stubbornly higher QF fares in Business as opposed to many other carriers.

4 on 4/2/13 by Salon66

Just called QF plat line to change our booking re: return Frankfurt flight April 15th, they had no idea at all of the changes, I asked  him to check, after 10 mins on hold, told me they just then received the email from up stairs about the changes and needless to say   Are very upset, was able to change the flights to day before as we don't want to go via Dubai. Good luck to Qantas on the "enhancement"  thanks AUSBT for the heads up.

1 on 4/2/13 by radiC00l

So does that mean you'll be on one of the last flights?

2 on 4/2/13 by gazzman

Last week I booked a QF5 J class JASA for April 23. It will be interesting to see what happens with this.

5 on 4/2/13 by spinoza

With QF87/88 cut Cathay will be running 4 daily services on SYD-HKG vs Qantas' 1. 

hopefully QF128 wont be any earlier because it doesn't leave you much time to sleep ... I've always preferred the QF88 time because you can get a good 6-7 hours of sleep.

6 on 4/2/13 by V1213

How does the Finnair codeshare fit in with all of this?

Looks like there are now no flights to SIN that make good connections, and assuming that all other overnight flights back to Australia remain unchanged, the return leg works except that PER looks like it won't work.

Also, seems odd that the retimed QF77/78 are now very similar times to the supposed new 3K133/134 SIN-PER services...

7 on 4/2/13 by kash

I bet John Slosar is celebrating tonight!!!

Cathay has all the more reason to want to increase frequencies now

8 on 4/2/13 by Phil

It was always going to be hard avoiding upsetting customers when your trying to bring things back into the black, but with the added Emirates overnight flights I think they have made the right decsions, and hopefully this will get them back to making some money on the international arm rather than just running flights for the sake of a pretty looking flight map. 

1 on 4/2/13 by DrTGanguly

Phil with some of the changes you are right, but for Perth and Adelaide this is an utter abandonment in favour of the Eastern states.....Thanks to most departures being early morning now, as an Adelaide based customer I can almost garuntee that QF will get non of my asian traveling.  Im sure there must be a reasnoble portion of business travellers bewteen ADL-SIN (not to mention the tertiary student industry!) and this new schedule leaves them appaling options for getting to Sinagpore.  The email I got from Qantas this afternoon reeks of hipocrisy, there is no expenaiosn or improved timmings for Adelaide.For once Nick Xenaphon has my full appraisal to say what he will about Qantas, as this is terrible.  Oh and for the reccord I have always been in favour of the Emirates alliance, but this is rediculous! 

1 on 4/2/13 by Phil

True Dr T, me being in the east the changes are easier to swallow, but at the end of the day the less profitable routes have been cut across the whole network, and yes i can see that the west has been hit the hardest , not sure there is an  easy way to solve loss making routes but still service all the population  , Qantas  have taken a gamble on keeping your business , seems they have lost in your case.

9 on 4/2/13 by Broderick

I have a flight to Frankfurt QF5 01/05. Due to these changes it looks like I will miss my connecting flight to Berlin (which I paid seperately). What to do?! Seems like Qantas is just becoming nightmare.

10 on 4/2/13 by Tezza

Mega Fail .... QF better use the A380


11 on 4/2/13 by Skipp

You get the sense that Qantas (the former international only airline for Australia) is developing two arms in it's arsenal to 'attract' customers:

Domestic Services and destinations:  - Using  Qantas and Jetstar metal.

International Services - Using the Qantas frequent flyer scheme (...but with most flights on other airlines through code shares & partner's).

12 on 4/2/13 by watson374

Does this mean that SYD-SIN on QF metal is less than daily?

13 on 4/2/13 by Tezza

With the Perth to HKG route - Do they expect business travellers to go via MEL and SYD ? Thats an extra 6 hrs additonal.

1 on 4/2/13 by kash

no-you fly CX!!-they have better seats too!

2 on 4/2/13 by Peter

There's always CX direct or via SIN.

MH is another possibility via KUL or BKI.

3 on 4/2/13 by David

Tezza, to be brutally honest I don't think Qantas has any expectations of what Perth-HK travellers will do because it seems they don't care what you do. :(

I suggest you check out Cathay Pacific for direct flights to Hong Kong, you'll get better business class seats than QF has ever offered ex-Perth.

1 on 4/2/13 by kash

or QANTAS has ever offered on any routes!!

2 on 6/2/13 by radiC00l

Surely this wasn't written by the same David who wrote the article?

1 on 7/2/13 by David

Yes it was my comment, Rad, and it expresses my frank but fully personal opinion on this. And it's done so in direct reponse to the plight of a reader from Perth, one of many who feels hard-done by the new schedule. It's also done as a comment rather than in the article, because that's the only appropriate way to express that opinion.

1 on 7/2/13 by radiC00l

I have no issue with you advising a reader on the merits of flying Cathay due to their schedule and the quality of their business class. I do however have issue with comments like "they don't care what you do". This is a cheap-shot that just feeds into the Qantas bashing mentality that exists in the media. I hope the next time you talk to Qantas executives you express this opinion to them directly.

3 on 7/2/13 by radiC00l

Really surprised that your "unbiased" website would engage in Qantas bashing. I guess you're on a high from your jaunt in HK courtesy of Cathay. Of all people, you would realise how tough the business is, and culling any routes wouldn't have been an easy decision. 

1 on 7/2/13 by John

Without wanting to speak for David (I can't do his accent anyway), I don't think that's Qantas-bashing — it's a succinct assessment of the airline's priorities.

If those priorities included international traffic between Asia and Perth, Qantas would have figured out some way to capture that traffic or at least mollify frequent flyers. ("And we're boosting QFF points for routes from Perth", say.)

I happen to think that Qantas made the right call (sorry, WA readers... please don't throw things at me when I visit next month) because it can make more money out of east coast-Asia than Perth-Asia. But I wouldn't be surprised to see more Jetstar Asia flights out of Perth, especially the long-haul product. The lower cost base of the Asia franchise could do well competing with the lower cost base of Asian carriers.

And, frankly, radiC00l, you've been a reader long enough to know that we don't give any airline, hotel or product a free pass if they fly us somewhere to cover something. That's meant that we've been disinvited to certain airlines' events, but that's the editorial policy we've taken.

At the end of the day, Cathay's new seats are objectively better than Qantas' first-gen Skybeds, and even Cathay's old seats are better for everyone except people who truly loathe "coffin class".

Unless, of course, you have information about an airline that flies Perth-Asia with better seats than Cathay, in which case I'd be very interested to learn of it.

2 on 7/2/13 by David

Come on, Rad, you should know us well enough by now to know that we don't give a free kick to anybody.

Proof of that is perhaps that every airline has at one time had reason to want to 'high five' us, and at another time wanted to 'deep six' us! :)

You should also note that this comment of mine was

a) personal, and deliberately not expressed as or within an editorial piece (which is just as it should be)

b) made before my current CX trip (for what that's worth)

c) got zip to do with the CX trip. I've flown business class on Qantas and CX (and many others) and there's no doubt in my mind that CX business class is 'best in class'.

And yes, Qantas obviously made a hard choice here - of course they'd have loved to have kept that Perth international route - and I accept that. But this doesn't nullify the impact of that decision on Perth travellers, as you'll see from the posts shared by AusBT readers here as just one sampling.

14 on 4/2/13 by KG

So I just got a mail from QF with the subject  Qantas improves access from Australia to Asia?!?!?!?!

Who are they kidding?!?!! Have their Corporate Communicatin Dept gone mental??? This wording just does my head in.

I understand they cannot state they are chopping flights from Adelaide and Perth and only increase BNE marginally, but seriously, it would have even been better for them to use word enhance  as opposed to improve and quite frankly they should have used word degrade!

15 on 5/2/13 by Rob

Time for a new slogan. Qantas, the Eastern Australian Airline. Unless you happen to be in the local mining industry, and then we do care about you. The rest of you in the WEST CAN GET ST........

16 on 5/2/13 by Tezza

Got he email as well. Its an all round fail


17 on 5/2/13 by Sladeyp

So despite the fact that Perth is the resources capital of Australia of which there is an enormous amount of asian investment. There will only be one QF service to Singapore (hardly the primary source of that investment)

I saw Twiggy Forrest flying on QF68 (HKG) twice. So I'm guessing he might've caught it reguarly. So QF is telling those mining magnates based in Perth who wished to connect in HKG to mainland China: Fly via Mel/Syd/Brs (LOL) or fly our competitor (make no bones about it) Cathay Pacific.

Oh but now I can fly Emirates to Europe and get the points!

Yep that's a great asian strategy right there.

What a rediculous retreat.

18 on 6/2/13 by woganfan

So Perth dips out again.  Sad really.  There will now only be one QF flight per day out of Perth and I find it offensive that the powerhouse of the economy is been abandoned internationally.  The single daily flight won't last, they will soon close that and shove us on to Deathstar.  I am glad I moved my loyalty to CX and Qatar now.

19 on 6/2/13 by rcooper

It definitely does not look like there is focus on Asia with this announcement, but as already stated QF international has to get back into the black or it will not exist.

They have made their focus where their core corporate business comes from which is Sydney and Melbourne and unfortunately Perth and Adelaide lose out big time.  

QF's key market is ex Australia business, and although there is a lot of Asia traffic especially to HKG SIN, a big percentage of it is done in economy or premium economy which is not where the airline makes money. Im not suggesting there is no premium traffic but if you look at the corporations that are the big users of those routes many have economy/premium only travel policies

Inbound Asia to Australia business is extremely loyal to the likes of SQ CX MH especially in the premium classes, QF does not capture a lot of that traffic

The real concern for QF is how do they compete with the likes of SQ CX TG and MH with their staggered multi daily flights from each of the key Australian cities?,  If they do a lot of it on A330's their product also falls well below the competition.

Some people like the morning departures to Asia but the late afternoon and overnight flights are also popular allowing people a full working day before flying out.  QF arent giving that option to their customers

Even though they have one world partners with MH and CX there does not seem to be much suggestion of them working closer together allowing QF to transfer traffic onwards 

There are some big gambles being taken here by QF, hopefully it will work for them


1 on 8/2/13 by Robin

Clearly QF don't want Adelaide business, as even travelling through Melbourne won't be easy with the new timetables. I always use CX to HKG anyway, but SIN is an issue. I'm told MH offers only a discounted version of QFF points and status credits - anyone up on this?

20 on 6/2/13 by Octane

I think it's a good decision. Let's face it, QF can't spend huge money on new planes right now, and have to work with what they've got till they're back in the black. Having flights 3 or 4 times a week is stupid and half hearted, so daily is the only way to go. Sending Perth passengers on Emirates via Dubai and still making money from the ticket, to allow Brisbane big business to buy premium seats on daily flights to Hong Kong is smart. How many corporates in Brisbane are forced to choose another airline because they can't fly on the day they need to fly on? When anything changes there are always winners and losers. 

1 on 6/2/13 by kash

ummm I do not think business in Brisbane were struggling with their 10 times a week flight to HK on CX so yes they did have to fly on another airline, and I am sure most of them Gladly did!!!-as evidenced in Sydney as well where CX thrashes QF 

21 on 6/2/13 by abudhabi1

Sorry Qantas but You won't be getting any of my Asia Holiday Travel in the future.The dropping of Adelaide is the last straw

22 on 6/2/13 by JBH

am I wrong in thinking that post 15th Apr QF77 will become the only QF int'l flight departing PER daily (excl JQ/3K)?

23 on 8/2/13 by GJP

For those living in Perth with QFF status such that Oneworld is preferable, I think Malaysia will become the new Aust'n international airline for us. The long leg overnight out of Asia is the tried and tested way to hit the ground running next morning in Europe. And you don't want the short leg out of Europe coming home, especially at night.

The QF/EK morning flight out of Dubai is on a crappy 777 with a 2 - 3 - 2 bus class cabin! Which I've had the misfortune to be on it twice. Compare that to SQ's 1-2-1 bus class cabin on their 777s.

Some below have written about QF6 and how Qantas staff didn't really know how to deal with it. Have a look at what I was given as a replacement for QF6. If I hadn't taken a screen shot no one would have believed me!

24 on 8/2/13 by GJP

The screen shot I just posted may not be readable. In lieu of QF6 out of Frankfurt on 18 April I was changed to QF 8048 out of FRA 22:20, into DXB 06:40; then QF8404 out 09:35, into SIN at 20:55: then, truly, out of SIN on QF78 at 18:10, into PER at 23:20.

25 on 8/2/13 by Graham A Lockwood

So much for the enhanced service to/from Bangkok. I travel Bangkok/Melbourne regularly and over the years QF have progressively reduced services including cancelling the daily QF1/2 B747 and BA terminate their BA 9/10 B747 in Bangkok. Alternative is thrice weekly Jetstar direct or the QF23/24 A330 to Sydney with a domestic transfer. However with the retiming of the A330 to a 0940 departure a same day connection from Melbourne is impractical. Thai offer a twice daily B777 between Bangkok and Melbourne and I will revert to this. The TG service standard has certainly declined in recent times but a direct B777 is much better than stuffing around in Sydney with bus transfers etc.

1 on 3/3/13 by abudhabi1

Malaysian will become my airline of default in the future internationally should there be somewhere one of Virgin Australia's Velocity Partners can't get me too out of Adelaide.Singapore Airlines for Singapore and Air New Zealand for New Zealand are what I switch to.Be Grateful that MH offers QFF people points no matter how stingy they are in Economy on Qualifying fare classes.


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