February 16, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Major Australian airline Qantas will continue its direct service between Darwin and London until at least June 2022 as continuing uncertainty around Western Australia’s border opening prevents the route returning to its original departure city of Perth.

“This extension through to at least mid-June means the Top End has several months to properly leverage the opening up of Australia’s borders to all tourists,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

“It’s a great opportunity to encourage thousands of visitors to stop off in Darwin to see what the NT has to offer.”

The route runs daily out of Darwin with connections from Melbourne and Sydney. The airline is preferencing this route over an alternative which stops over in Singapore. Currently those flying into Singapore from the UK are required to remain in a special area of the airport while awaiting onward flights.

Direct flights between Perth and London were expected to resume in April, before Western Australia backflipped on its border reopening date of February 5 and left the border closure in place indefinitely.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said yesterday that an announcement on the border would be made this month.