Darwin is now home to “Australia’s shortest and longest international flights”, with the first of Qantas’s new regular passenger flights to Dili today departing the NT capital.
- The NT capital currently hosts Australia’s longest international flight: Qantas’s direct route to London via Darwin
- Yesterday, Singapore Airlines resumed regular passenger flights to Darwin for the first time in 23 years
- The NT’s international borders have now reopened
“Darwin-Dili is 725km and Darwin-London is over 14,000km depending on the route flown,” Darwin-based aviation analyst Bruce Dale said.
Passengers on the new Darwin to Dili service can expect their journey to take about one hour and 20 minutes whereas travellers departing Darwin for London can expect a travel time of longer than 17 hours.
Qantas will continue to run direct daily flights between Darwin and London until at least the end of June.
But Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in February it was unlikely the route would continue to depart the NT capital after WA reopened its borders.
QantasLink chief executive Petrea Bradford said the Darwin to Dili route would help build the link between Australia and one of its “closest neighbours”.
“After two years of closed borders, this new route is a key part of Qantas’s focus on rebuilding connectivity in the region for businesses, families and freight,” she said.
Three return flights to Dili will operate each week on the airline’s E190 aircraft, ramping up to five weekly flights from July.
“We do expect [the Darwin-Dili service] to be a popular route, we expect people that are looking to get off the beaten track will really like going up to Timor Leste,” Ms Bradford said.
“We’ve only had the route on sale now since February … it’s performing very well.”
Airport Development Group’s Selwyn D’Souza said the Dili route would provide a welcome boost to the territory’s tourism industry and showed the economy was “bouncing back” post-pandemic.
“This is going to be great for local businesses,” she said.
“We think we will get back to pre-COVID levels very quickly over time.”
Singapore to Darwin route returns
On Tuesday, Singapore Airlines resumed regular passenger flights to Darwin for the first time in 23 years.
The service will operate up to three weekly services, with the aim of increasing to five times a week at the end of May.
Tourism Minister Natasha Fyles said the Darwin to Singapore flights would “provide easy access for international tourists from all our key source markets, and beyond”.
“With Australia’s international border now open, we are excited to once again share the Northern Territory’s unique and diverse backyard,” she said.
In a statement, the NT government said it was undertaking “significant in-market activities and campaigns” in the UK, US and Germany which aimed to drive the return of “high spending tourists and working holiday makers to the NT”.