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Qantas Reroutes Flights Between Perth and London Over Iran Missile Fears as Mid-East Tensions Ratchet Up

Qantas Reroutes Flights Between Perth and London Over Iran Missile Fears as Mid-East Tensions Ratchet Up

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Australian flag carrier Qantas is rerouting its flagship non-stop international route between Perth and London Heathrow after US intelligence services warned that Iran may be on the cusp of launching a massive attack on Israel using ballistic missiles and drones.

Qantas normally operates a daily flight from Melbourne to London Heathrow via Perth as flight QF9, departing Perth at 6:30 pm and arriving in the United Kingdom 5:05 am the following day.

The route usually takes the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner over Oman and the United Arab Emirates before crossing the Persian Gulf and tracking over Iraq before reaching the European continent.

At a distance of 9,000 nautical miles, the non-stop flight is at the upper limits of the 787-9s range, so any attempt to avoid escalating tensions in the Middle East means that Qantas can no longer operate the flight without a stopover.

As a result, Qantas won’t operate the QF9 service as a non-stop flights from Perth to London from Friday, 12th, April, until the 15th of April at the earliest.

Instead, Qantas will now operate the flight via Singapore as flight QF209 with a short stopover of just over an hour. The departure from Melbourne has been retimed to leave four hours earlier in order to arrive in London at 5:05 am as scheduled.

On Thursday, the US Embassy in Jerusalem issued an urgent security alert restricting the movement of staffers and their families from travelling outside the greater Tel Aviv areas, as well as Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva areas, until further notice.

The embassy warned that the “security environment remains complex and can change quickly depending on the political situation and recent events.”

On Friday, Australian officials echoed those warnings, advising its citizens that the security situation in Israel could “deteriorate quickly, with little or no notice.”

“This may also result in airspace closures, flight cancellations and flight diversions, and other travel disruptions,” noted Australia’s Smart Traveller service.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Qantas told us: “We’re temporarily adjusting the flight paths for our flights between Perth and London due to the situation in parts of the Middle East.”

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

The return flight from London Heathrow to Perth will continue to operate non-stop due to prevailing tailwinds.

This isn’t the first time that Qantas’ service between Perth and London has been affected by tensions in the Middle East. In January 2020, another threat by Iran on US assets in Iraq also got Qantas pondering a stopover via Singapore.

The other option is for Qantas to heavily restrict the number of passengers on the flight in order to reduce the weight of the aircraft and increase its range, but QF9 normally operates at or close to capacity, so this isn’t necessarily the best solution.

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