Big Airline Changes from 31 March 2019There are some significant changes to airline routes and schedules coming up this weekend. Among the many changes, Qantas is launching three new routes and Emirates, United and Air China are all reducing flights to Australia. Many other flights are being re-timed or switching aircraft types. All of the changes take effect from Sunday 31 March 2019.

It’s no coincidence that these changes all take place on the same day. The global aviation industry revolves around the northern summer and winter cycles, and 31 March marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere (and the start of daylight savings in Europe) this year. Airlines all over the world use the change of season as an opportunity to adjust their schedules. Even though daylight savings doesn’t end in Australia for another week, Australian airlines also use these dates as they are the global industry standard.

There were similarly many changes that took place at the end of the northern summer period in October last year, including the launch of the Qantas-Air New Zealand codeshare partnership.

To help you stay up to date, we’ve put together a list of the main changes affecting Australian travellers from next weekend. You can click on any of the links below to read more about any of the changes…

 

Qantas Launching Sydney-Nadi Flights

Qantas will use a Boeing 737-800 on this route four times per week. Read more →

QantasLink Launching Sydney-Bendigo Flights

QantasLink will operate a Dash 8-300 on this route daily. Read more →

QantasLink Resuming Cairns-Port Moresby Flights

After suspending flights between Cairns and Port Moresby in 2016, QantasLink returns to Papua New Guinea with daily Dash 8-Q400 flights.

Additional Qantas Domestic Flights

Qantas is also increasing frequencies on its Brisbane-Cairns route, and expanding the use of Airbus A330s from Sydney and Melbourne to Cairns. Airbus A330s now operate on one daily Sydney-Cairns flight and on weekends between Melbourne and Cairns. Additional flights are also being added on the Sydney-Sunshine Coast, Brisbane-Mount Isa and Brisbane-Townsville routes.

Emirates Reducing Perth-Dubai Flights

Emirates is axing one of its two daily Perth-Dubai flights, leaving just a single daily A380 service. (Emirates will also terminate its Sydney-Bangkok route in a few months.) Read more →

United Reducing Sydney Flights

United is reducing frequency on its Sydney-Los Angeles route from daily to 3x weekly, and Sydney-Houston from daily to 4x weekly during the northern summer period. Daily frequencies will resume at the end of October, when the northern summer period ends. Read more →

Air China Axing Australia-Shanghai Flights

Air China is ending all flights from Sydney and Melbourne and Shanghai. Air China’s flights to Beijing will continue to operate, with Sydney-Beijing service increasing from 5x weekly to daily. Read more →

China Eastern Sending Airbus A350 to Sydney

China Eastern will change the aircraft used on its Sydney-Shanghai route from an Airbus A330 to the newer Airbus A350 with modern Business suites.

LATAM Re-Timing Melbourne-Santiago Flights

LATAM’s non-stop service between Melbourne and Santiago is being completely re-timed. The outbound Melbourne-Santiago leg now departs around lunchtime, instead of late in the evening. The return Santiago-Melbourne leg switches from a day flight to an overnight flight. Read more →

Qantas Re-Timing Sydney-Hong Kong Service

Qantas’ second-daily flight from Sydney to Hong Kong, QF117, is being changed from a mid-afternoon to a late evening departure. This flight will now be a redeye service arriving in Hong Kong at 5am, instead of in the evening. The return QF118 remains an overnight service, meaning the aircraft will sit on the ground in Hong Kong for the entire day. Read more →

Qantas Upgrading Sydney-Denpasar Flights

Qantas is bringing the Airbus A330 with lie-flat Business suites back for flights between Sydney and Bali. This is a vast improvement over the Boeing 737 currently being used, especially for Business passengers on the overnight return flight. Read more →

Virgin Australia Launching Darwin-Denpasar Flights

This new route isn’t launching on 31 March, but it is running for most of the northern summer period. Virgin’s new seasonal Darwin-Denpasar route will run 3x weekly from 10 April until 20 October 2019. A Boeing 737-800 will be used, offering passengers the option of Business class and better timings than Jetstar’s existing service.

Malindo Air is also launching Adelaide-Denpasar flights from 16 April 2019. Read more →

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]