COVID-19: Qantas extends shutdown


Qantas has announced that it is extending the suspension of most of its fleet. This follows from the latest government advice on how long the current travel restrictions may stay in place.

As a result of the continuing restriction, Qantas is now cancelling:

  • Domestic and Trans-Tasman flights through to the end of June
  • Other International Services through to the end of July

As a result, during the next few months, they will largely be restricted to flying their minimum network schedule.


[Previous 19 March]

Qantas has made further significant cuts today. The high-level points

  • Qantas and Jetstar to suspend scheduled international flights from late March, following the latest government travel advice; some ongoing ad hoc services possible.
  • 60 percent reduction to domestic flights, focused on cutting frequency.
  • Two-thirds of employees to be temporarily stood down to preserve as many jobs as possible longer term.

International Changes

The biggest changes are to be found in the international network. Qantas and Jetstar will be suspending international flights from Australia from the end of March until at least the end of May.

In addition, the various Jetstar offshoots will be seeing significant reductions in service. In the case of Jetstar Asia, all flights are being suspended for three weeks. Jetstar Japan has cut international routes and cut domestic flying. For its part, Jetstar Pacific has cut international flights altogether and reduced domestic flying.

Domestic Changes

Qantas has previously announced a 60% reduction in capacity across its domestic network. They have now provided more details of this and the changes can be found here.

Lounge Closures

As a result of the reduced operations, Qantas will also be closing a number of its lounges. This will include all of its international lounges.

On the domestic front, Domestic Qantas Club lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Canberra will close. However, all eligible customers will be able to use the business lounges at these airports.

Previous News 17 March

Qantas is planning on making further cuts to its international and domestic flying. Across both Qantas and Jetstar, this will bring the total cut in international capacity to 90%. While not as badly affected, domestic capacity will reduce a total of 60%.

These reductions build on the previous reductions and will be in place until the end of May 2020.

Overall, these changes will see the effective grounding of 150 aircraft. That 150 aircraft will see most of the Qantas widebody fleet grounded until at least May.

Qantas will be announcing the specific changes over the next few days. I will update this post as further information becomes available.

This announcement affects operations between now and the end of May. Previously, Qantas had announced changes through to the end of September, and these changes will remain in place.

Previous Changes (10 March)

Qantas has announced a raft of changes to its international network resulting in a capacity reduction of almost 25% for the next six months.

The changes are a response to the continuing spread of the Coronavirus over recent weeks. According to Qantas, this has resulted in a sudden and significant drop in bookings.

In making the changes, Qantas has chosen a combination of using smaller aircraft and reducing the frequency of flights. In some cases, where flights have been reduced, a larger aircraft will be used on the remaining services.

This will see a substantial reduction in the use of the A380. There will only two used across the network through to mid-September. The other A380 aircraft will either be effectively parked or undergoing maintenance.

Routes to London (QF 1/2)

Firstly, a big change. As of April 20, Sydney-Singapore-London flights (QF1 and QF2) will be temporarily re-routed to a Sydney-Perth-London service. This will see the aircraft change from the current A380 to the smaller  787.

Qantas Singapore First lounge will temporarily close

As the QF 1 and QF 2 flights will be routed through Perth, there will be no First services through Singa;ore. As a result, Qantas will temporarily close Qantas First Lounge in Singapore. Customers will be directed to the Qantas Business Lounge.

Delays to Brisbane-Chicago route

Qantas have chose to delay the start of the new Brisbane-Chicago route. This was originally slated to commence on April 15, but has now been postponed to mid-September.

San Francisco changes

Qantas will make several alterations to its San Francisco services::

  • Brisbane to San Francisco will be suspended
  • Melbourne to San Francisco will be suspended
  • Sydney to San Francisco will see a change from the 787 to a 747

The following table outlines the full set of changes being made:

Route Change Effective dates(until mid-Sept 2020)
Sydney-Tokyo (Haneda) B747 replaced by smaller A330 30 March
Melbourne-Singapore – 7 return flights per week cancelled (QF 37/38)

– B787 replaced by larger A330 on 7 return flights per week (QF 35/36)

– 20 April– 4 May
North America 
Brisbane-Chicago Route launch postponed Was to start 15 April
Brisbane-San Francisco Route suspended (3 return flights per week) 18 April
Sydney-San Francisco B787 replaced by larger B747 18 April
Melbourne-San Francisco Route suspended (4 return flights per week) 18 April
Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth A380 replaced by smaller B787 20 April
Melbourne-Los Angeles A380 replaced by smaller B787 1 June
Sydney-Vancouver Seasonal service suspended (3 return flights per week) June and July only
United Kingdom
Sydney-London (Heathrow) – Flights to operate via Perth (instead of Singapore)then non-stop to London.

– Perth-London to become double daily as a result.

– A380 replaced by smaller B787

20 April
South America
Sydney-Santiago Delaying planned B787 introduction and continuing with B747 1 August


Jetstar Changes

The changes are not confined to Qantas. Jetstar will also be reducing some flying. These are shown in the following table

Routes Change Effective date(until end June but may be extended)
Melbourne-Bangkok Route suspended 1 May
Sydney/Melbourne-Ho Chi Minh Flights reduced by over 50 per cent 1 May
Japan routes Flights reduced by almost 40 per cent 20 May
Brisbane-Bali Minor flight reductions 1 May


Affected Customers

Qantas and Jetstar will contact customers affected by these changes in the coming week. Customers who booked via a travel agent (including online travel agents) will be contacted by their agent rather than the airline.



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About Author

Mark is the founder of FlyStayPoints, and caught the travel bug early in life. He discovered the benefits of travel loyalty programs in 2001, and is always learning how they can make travel better. While work takes him between Perth and Melbourne, he is always plotting his next adventure.