With Qantas rolling out new domestic routes and upgrading aircraft on existing routes, there are lots of opportunities for passengers to skip squeezy narrowbody planes for spacious widebody aircraft. Over the upcoming Australian winter season, Qantas is operating its international standard widebody aircraft on a range of domestic routes across Australia. Here’s a rundown on where they are flying.
Qantas beefs up transcontinental widebody jet services
Qantas regulars will already know the airline already offers A330 services on cross-country flights between Melbourne and Perth and Sydney and Perth. The airline now operates 37 return flights each week between Melbourne and Perth, of which Airbus A330s fly up to 24 (65%) of those flights.
On the Sydney-Perth sector, Qantas is flying 34 weekly return services, of which up to 13 (38%) are flown by A330 or Boeing 787-9 aircraft. Melbourne offers more Perth-bound widebody flights, but only Sydney offers Dreamliner services to Perth (and back).
This is a new development, and the Qantas website isn’t yet saying, but Expedia reveals the Dreamliner is to operate QF645, the daily 10:25 departure from Sydney. The plane will turn around in Perth to fly QF648, the 14:35 departure, landing back in Sydney at 20:35.
Before the travel downturn, you could also find A330s flying on the Brisbane-Perth route. However, that does not appear to be happening this winter. Searches show Boeing 737-800s covering the route.
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Darwin sees Qantas widebodies jets from Brisbane and Sydney
But all is not lost in the Queensland capital of Brisbane. Qantas is laying on Airbus A330 services between Brisbane and Darwin. The airline offers nine return services a week. Three of these services will be flown by A330s.
Most flights between Sydney and Darwin are also seeing Airbus A330s. Qantas says up to seven of the 12 return flights a week between the two cities will be operated by A330s. These are the daytime flights. Arguably the comforts of an A330 would be better appreciated on the evening flight from Sydney which turns around to become the 01:50 departure from Darwin, but let’s not quibble.
Boeing 737-800s are operating all flights on the Melbourne-Darwin route over the winter – a bit of a shame really because it is a four-and-a-half-hour flight and it would make a neat trio of key Australian cities served by A330s from Darwin.
Cairns also hosts seasonal widebody Qantas services
But Qantas is offering A330 services this winter season between Melbourne and Cairns. There is a civilized daily 09:45 departure out of Melbourne and an equally acceptable mid-afternoon departure from Cairns, having you back in Melbourne for a late dinner.
There are also daily A330 services between Sydney and Cairns. This too is a morning departure out of Sydney. After three hours in the air, you are in Cairns in time for lunch on The Esplanade. The A330 turns around and operates a 13:45 departure back to Sydney. Alas, both Cairns’ A330 services appear to be seasonal. This writer recently attempted to book an A330 flight between Cairns and Sydney for travel in December and had no luck.
A330s pop up on the odd flight between Sydney and Melbourne
It’s also worth knowing about the occasional A330 service on the busy Sydney-Melbourne run. Qantas floods this route with Boeing 737-800s. They are fine for a 90 minute. However, why fly a 737 when an A330 is available. It will depend on which day of the week you fly, but if you’re heading down to Melbourne, target the 07:00 (QF409) and 18:00 (QF479) departures out of Sydney. If you are flying north to Sydney, the 07:00 (QF410) and 19:30 (QF490) flights are frequently flown by A330s.
Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, and Perth all have Qantas widebody domestic flights scheduled in this Australian winter season. Who doesn’t? Canberra, Hobart, and Adelaide. Canberra and Hobart are too small to sustain regular A330 flights, but Adelaide? In terms of passenger numbers, Adelaide is in that hazy middle ground. But Qantas has been showing Adelaide a lot of love lately, so the possibility of the odd widebody domestic service into Adelaide this year isn’t out of question.