Qantas forced to ‘modify’ flights from Perth to London over Middle East tensions

Emily Moulton
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Qantas has been forced to re-route its non-stop flights from Perth to London because of escalating tensions in parts of the Middle East.
Qantas has been forced to re-route its non-stop flights from Perth to London because of escalating tensions in parts of the Middle East. Credit: Supplied

Qantas has been forced to re-route its non-stop flights from Perth to London because of escalating tensions in parts of the Middle East.

The national carrier’s flagship route normally flies direct from WA’s capital city to Heathrow Airport, taking roughly around 17-and-a-half hours, through Iranian airspace.

But because of fears Tehran is planning an imminent attack on Israel, Qantas has modified the journey of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from Perth in a bid to avoid the potential conflict.

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Flights QF9 will now stop in Singapore on its way the United Kingdom.

A Qantas spokesperson told The West Australian the flight had not been “paused or cancelled”, saying the route from WA had just been adjusted due to the situation in the Middle East. The return flight from London to Perth will operate direct to Perth with a full load due to prevailing winds.

“We’re temporarily adjusting the flight paths for our flights between Perth and London due to the situation in parts of the Middle East,” the spokesperson said.

“We’ll reach out to customers directly if there’s any change to their booking. “

The new flight will stop in Singapore to refuel over the next few days carrying a full load of customers.

Qantas’ other flights to and from London are understood to be unaffected because they use different flight paths.

The decision by the airline comes as US President Joe Biden said overnight that he expects Iran to attack Israel “sooner rather than later”.

The US has also reportedly moved warships into the region to protect Israel and its own forces from any assault.

And it follows decisions by German airline Lufthansa, and it’s subsidiary Austrian Airlines, which had both stopped flying over Iranian airspace.

A Qantas Dreamliner in Perth.
Qantas is adding a Singapore stopover to its longest route to avoid Israeli airspace. (HANDOUT/PERTH AIRPORT) Credit: AAP

Lufthansa said its planes would no longer use that route and extended a suspension on flights to and from Tehran.

“Due to the current situation, Lufthansa is suspending its flights to and from Tehran up to and including Thursday, 18 April,” a company spokesperson said Friday.

Austrian Airlines said the safety of its passengers and crews had “top priority” and would be evaluating the situation in the region on an ongoing basis.

On Friday, Australia updated its travel advice regarding Israel, warning Australians to reconsider their need to visit the region because “there’s an increased threat of military and terrorist attacks” against the country and its interest in the region.

“The security situation could deteriorate quickly, with little or no notice,” the advice says on the Smartraveller website.

“This may also result in airspace closures, flight cancellations and flight diversions, and other travel disruptions. Airports may pause operations due to heightened security concerns. This may cause flight delays or cancellations.

“Israel has a naval blockade in place. Don’t join others to try to break the naval blockade.“Terrorist attacks can occur anywhere at any time. There are ongoing threats of rocket attacks. “We continue to advise reconsider your need to travel overall due to the volatile security situation including the threat of terrorism, armed conflict and civil unrest.

“We continue to advise do not travel to Gaza, border areas with Gaza, border areas with Lebanon closed by Israeli authorities and the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), due to the volatile security situation.”

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