Qantas will close its final international route from Perth this year, leaving the WA capital without a single overseas flight on the Flying Kangaroo.
The QF77/78 service between Perth and Singapore will be axed from May 12 as Qantas seeks to "permanently reduce costs in all parts of the Qantas Group" in the face of a record $252 million loss for the six months from July to December 2013.
Qantas will temporarily resurrect QF77/78 from July 3-21 "to cater for additional demand over the peak holiday season."
Qantas described the Perth-Singapore flights as an 'underperforming route' and will hand over all international travel from Australia's resources capital to its partner Emirates.
The Middle Eastern airline has big plans for Perth, with a daily Airbus A380 tipped to take over one of the three daily flights between Perth and Dubai.
Qantas' low-cost offshoots Jetstar and Jetstar Asia will continue to operate Perth-Singapore flights, currently offering three services each day between the two brands.
Meanwhile, competitors Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific will mop up direct full-service flights to Asia with their daily flights to Singapore and Hong Kong.
Both airlines also offer extensive onwards connections to Europe.
Virgin Australia partner Etihad Airways will also commence daily flights between Perth and its Abu Dhabi hub from July 15.
Virgin Australia travellers will be able to book a single ticket from outlying WA cities to fly into Perth with Virgin and then onwards to the rest of the world with Etihad – earning Velocity frequent flyer points and status credits all the way.
“Our analysis shows there is a significant business opportunity on the Perth route" said Etihad Airways’ President James Hogan on the announcement of the first flights.
Hogan also identified a significant new opportunity for revenue growth from the business travel segment, citing that "eighty of the top 300 Australian companies have their headquarters in Perth and many of these have commercial interests in Africa and the Middle East."
"Equally, many UAE businesses have a strong presence in Australia, particularly in the agribusiness, resources and tourism sectors. We anticipate that this will translate to strong demand for our new services."
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About Chris Chamberlin
Chris lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, an opera ticket and a glass of wine!