Airline Route Changes from 27 October 2019

Airline Route Changes from 27 October 2019This weekend marks the start of the IATA northern winter scheduling period. As well as the end of daylight savings in Europe, this means lots of changes to airline routes and schedules.

From this weekend, Cathay Pacific will pull out of Cairns. But there is also some good news, with United Airlines increasing flights to Australia and Thai Airways increasing flights to Melbourne.

Indonesian low-cost airline Citilink had also announced plans to start flights from Perth to Bali from 27 October 2019, however no seats are currently available for sale. It is unclear whether this route will go ahead after all.

Here is a full summary of the major airline changes from 27 October 2019 of interest to Australian frequent flyers…

Cathay Pacific ends Cairns-Hong Kong service

After 25 years serving far-north Queensland, Cathay Pacific will withdraw from Cairns this weekend. There had been rumours of Air Niugini potentially coming in to fill the gap with non-stop Cairns-Hong Kong flights, but this does not appear to be happening after all.

LATAM Airlines commences non-stop Sydney-Santiago flights

LATAM Airlines currently flies daily from Sydney to Santiago via Auckland. From this weekend, LATAM will fly non-stop from Sydney to Santiago on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays – complementing the non-stop Qantas flights running on the other four days per week. LATAM’s Sydney-Santiago service will continue to operate to the current schedule via Auckland four days per week.

United adds Melbourne-San Francisco service

United Airlines will launch its fifth route to Australia with the beginning of direct Melbourne-San Francisco services using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

United will also reverse its frequency reductions on the Sydney-Los Angeles and Sydney-Houston routes that were made during the northern summer season. The Star Alliance carrier will restore daily service on both routes from next week.

Singapore Airlines upgrades Singapore-Melbourne-Wellington route

Singapore Airlines will next week upgrade the aircraft used on its Singapore-Melbourne-Wellington service from a Boeing 777-200 to an Airbus A350-900 with Business, Premium Economy and Economy class seating. This is an upgrade for Business passengers who now enjoy fully lie-flat beds. Premium Economy seating is also a new addition to the route.

The flight currently runs 4 times per week, but will be upgraded to 5x weekly from January 2020.

Thai Airways increases Melbourne-Bangkok frequency

Thai Airways is increasing the number of flights between Melbourne and Bangkok from 11 to 14 per week from 27 October 2019. TG461/462 (the day flight from Bangkok to Melbourne, and the overnight service back to Thailand) currently runs only four times per week but will be upgraded to daily. This allows for easy connections to and from Europe in both directions.

All Thai Airways flights to Melbourne will be on modern Airbus A350s. (Sorry Sydney, you’re still stuck with the old Thai Airways Boeing 747 only once per day.)

Many airlines are moving flights to Beijing Daxing Airport (PKX)

Following the opening of the huge new Beijing Daxing Airport (PKX), more airlines are moving services to there from the existing Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) from this weekend. Many Chinese carriers are moving domestic services there. British Airways, LOT Polish Airlines, Finnair and Royal Brunei are also commencing services to the new airport.

Changes to various fifth-freedom routes

There are also several changes to fifth freedom routes from this weekend. These include:

  • Czech Airlines commencing Copenhagen-Reykjavik flights
  • Gulf Air commencing Colombo-Male flights
  • Lufthansa ending Baku-Ashgabat flights
  • Sri Lankan Airlines ending Tokyo-Male flights

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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.

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Matt, Air Niugini isn’t doing non-stop Cairns-Hong Kong but is doing Cairns – Port Moresby – Hong Kong.


Air China have apparently switched aircraft on the Syd…Pek daily service from the crampred A330.300 to a newer 787. Unsure if it remains permanent