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Qantas Pauses Nonstop London Flight Amid Middle East Tension

Qantas is the latest airline to stop using Iranian airspace amid escalating tensions in the region.

A Qantas 787-9 performs a test flight at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Zera)

Qantas is rerouting its longest flight and the world’s fourth-longest passenger route due to concerns about Iranian attacks in the Middle East. The flight, operated by a Boeing 787-9, will add a stopover in Singapore to refuel as the Dreamliner cannot cover the distance if Iran airspace is avoided.

The affected flight is QF9 from Melbourne to London Heathrow, with a stopover in Perth. The flight will now have two stopovers, in Perth and Singapore. The return flight, QF10, will also avoid Iran airspace but can fly directly between London and Perth thanks to favorable wind conditions.

The new flight numbered QF209, will have a stopover of 1.5 hours in Singapore before making its way to London. QF209 on April 12 followed a northern route over Turkmenistan to avoid Iranian airspace, then turned slightly South over the Black Sea to avoid the Russian and Ukrainian airspace.

The flight path of QF209 from Singapore to London (Photo: Flightrader24)

More Airlines Are Avoiding Iran Airspace

The only Western airlines serving Iran are Lufthansa and its subsidiary Austrian. Both airlines have suspended their flights to Tehran amid tensions. Lufthansa stopped flying over a week ago while Austrian continued flying into the Iranian capital with an adjusted schedule until April 11. The Lufthansa Group has also stopped using Iranian airspace for its flights to and from Asia.

Several other carriers, including Air India, have also stopped using Iranian airspace due to security concerns. More airlines are expected to join as the situation escalates. This is set to pose another challenge for airlines flying between Asia and Europe after the closure of Ukrainian airspace and the avoidance of Russian airspace by most carriers.

Qantas Service via Singapore

Singapore is unsurprisingly chosen as the stopover airport for Qantas due to the large presence Qantas has in the city. Qantas’ other service to Europe, QF1 and QF2 between Sydney and London, make a regular stop in Singapore where it also enjoys fifth freedom rights, meaning the ability to carry passengers between Singapore and London.

Qantas uses A380 on its flights from Sydney to London via Singapore (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hisham Qadri)

Other than the “Kangaroo Service” between Sydney and London via Singapore, Qantas flies another daily service between Sydney and Singapore, two daily flights between Melbourne and Singapore, and one daily flight each from Perth and Brisbane to Singapore. Its subsidiary, Jetstar, also has a daily flight to Singapore from Melbourne.

The latest development could impact future Qantas services to Europe from Perth. Qantas is planning to launch flights to Paris in time for the Olympics and relaunch flights to Rome in 2024. However, with the Middle East situation uncertain, these flights could be impacted as well.

Anthony Bang An


  • Anthony Bang An

    Anthony is an airline enthusiast who also loves traveling. He grew up around the world from St. Louis to Singapore and now lives in Amsterdam. He loves long-haul flying and finds peace in the sound of engine cruising. Fresh out of high school, he aspires to be working in the aviation industry and share his passion for the sky. 

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