Qantas’ plans to make Perth a major western hub have hit turbulence with the much-touted Perth to Johannesburg service suspended next March and the Perth-Jakarta service scrapped.
The Johannesburg service will go ahead on November 1 until March next year when it will be suspended indefinitely.
The hiccup in the new services revolves around security and biosecurity screening requirements for the flights at Terminal 3 (T3).
Qantas said the infrastructure constraints at Terminal 3 make it difficult to deliver the levels of border security and biosecurity screening required to process passengers from some destinations, including South Africa.
As a work-around, passengers from Johannesburg will continue to depart from T3 however from November 1 till January 15 2023 the QF66 flight from Johannesburg will land at T3 in Perth. Passengers with a connecting Qantas flight will clear customs and immigration in T3 so they can easily connect to their onward service. However, passengers finishing their journey in Perth will be bussed from T3 to Terminal 1 (T1) to clear customs there.
Then from January 16, 2023, until March 25, 2023, QF66 from Johannesburg will land at T1, where all passengers will go through customs and immigration. Passengers with onward Qantas flights will be bussed across to T3. The flight will then be suspended indefinitely.
Qantas said that the same constraints mean Qantas will not start its planned Perth-Jakarta service and instead plans to increase its Perth-Singapore services from seven flights a week to 10 flights per week, all through T3. Any passengers impacted by these changes will be contacted directly.
The airline said there are no changes to Qantas’ Perth-London service, which will continue to operate through T3 in both directions as will the Perth-Singapore flight.
Qantas suspended its ticket sales for both its Johannesburg and Jakarta services while it worked to find a solution to the biosecurity problems and tickets on the Perth-Johannesburg route are now back on sale until March 25, 2023.
Chief executive of Qantas International, Andrew David, said: “After detailed discussion with the border agencies, we’ve found a way to operate our Johannesburg flights over the summer peak by using both T3 and T1.
“This is about balancing the needs of our customers and operations with the important job our border agencies do in screening passengers and managing risk at the border. We’re pleased that all our Johannesburg flights will leave from T3, which means passengers flying in from other parts of Australia to meet this service will have a seamless experience and eligible passengers can access our lounge.”
“We appreciate the support of Perth Airport as well as government agencies in developing and now implementing these alternatives so we can meet the strong travel demand to South Africa over the peak holiday period. We’re working with the airport and government on how we can grow our international services from Perth given these developments,” Mr David added.
A Perth Airport spokesman said: “Perth Airport had agreed to hosting the Jakarta and Johannesburg services out of Terminal 3, subject to Qantas securing the appropriate Federal regulatory approvals.
“Perth Airport has done everything possible to help ensure the flights could go ahead as planned and while we are naturally disappointed the services will not proceed, we understand the position of the relevant government agencies.”