Qantas cuts flights out of Singapore; temporarily closing First Class lounge in Changi

Qantas is cutting capacity by 23% and shuttering the First Class lounge in Changi from 20 April till at least mid-September.

Due to the coronavirus situation, Qantas has announced its plans to make some significant cuts to its capacity, reducing it by almost a quarter for the next six months. Some of these changes will affect services to Singapore, as well as the operation of the recently-opened First Class lounge in Changi.

What’s changing?

Qantas is grounding all but 2 of its A380-800s

Qantas and its subsidiary Jetstar will be reducing capacity by a total of 23%, with the cuts currently scheduled to last till mid-September 2020. In terms of geographical distribution:

  • Asia will see a 31% capacity cut
  • USA will see a 19% capacity cut
  • UK will see a 17% capacity cut
  • Trans-Tasman will see a 10% capacity cut

Instead of exiting routes, Qantas will be downgauging aircraft and reducing flight frequency. In particular, all but two of its A380-800s will be grounded or sent for maintenance and upgrades.

Here’s a summary of the routes which are affected by these changes:

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


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

What about us in Singapore?

Melbourne gets switched to an A330

QF 37/38 between Singapore and Melbourne (which operates 7 times a week) will be cancelled from 20 April to mid-September 2020, while QF 35/36 will be upgauged from a B787 to an A330 from 4 May to mid-September 2020.

Neither the B787 nor A330 have a First Class cabin, but the good news is they both have the same Business Class seat.

Qantas B787 Business Class | Photo Credit: Business Traveller

That wasn’t always the case- it was only in late 2019 that Qantas finished upgrading their final A330, removing the tired first-generation SkyBed seats and replacing them with the much more pleasant Business Suite.

Qantas A330 Business Class | Photo Credit: Qantas

Suspension of Sydney-Singapore-London route

QF 1/2 between Sydney, Singapore and London will also temporarily be cut from 20 April, as Qantas shifts the Sydney-Singapore-London routing to a Sydney-Perth-London one. This flight will also be downgauged from an A380 to a B787, for a loss of 250 seats.

Interestingly enough, this is arguably an upgrade for Business Class passengers, as the A380 has the rather underwhelming SkyBed. Qantas is in the process of upgrading its A380s to the Business Suite, but from what I understand the upgraded A380s aren’t deployed on a dedicated route so you’re basically playing roulette here.

Qantas A380 SkyBed | Photo Credit: iwandered

Qantas First Class lounge at Changi to close

The rerouting of QF 1/2 means that Qantas will no longer operate any First Class routes out of Singapore, and as such, it’ll be closing the First Lounge until at least mid-September. That’s a shame, because it’s easily the best lounge in all of Changi.

Customers who are entitled to First Class lounge access (e.g Emirates First Class customers and oneworld Emeralds) will be invited instead to use the adjacent Qantas Business lounge. It’s still a decent facility, but obviously nowhere near the First Class standard.

Jetstar cutting routes to Taipei and Osaka

JetStar Asia is cutting capacity by almost 40%, and suspending the Singapore to Taipei/Osaka routes. I can’t imagine they’re seeing too much leisure travel at the moment, so it’s really not that surprising.


Qantas joins many other carriers in cutting back on capacity on account of the Covid-19 travel downturn. It’s interesting that they’ve scheduled these cuts all the way till mid-September, while other airlines have mostly made cuts till May/June. That said, given the outbreaks we’re seeing in Europe and the USA now, the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.

A shame about the loss of the Qantas First lounge in Changi too, but there are more important issues to be concerned with in the grand scheme of things.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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