Australia’s Qantas has announced it is launching a second international route from Darwin, with direct flights from the Northern Territory to Singapore’s Changi airport.

Commencing in December, the new Qantas flights will add more than 60,000 seats on the route each year.

The flights will provide Territorians with a direct Qantas option to Singapore and also a seamless connection to London on QF1, as well as other destinations across Europe or Asia with partner airlines.

Qantas passengers travelling from Darwin will save around five hours in flying time by no longer having to fly via other Australian capital cities to get to London.

From 9 December, flights will initially operate five days per week with the dual-class Embraer E190 regional aircraft, increasing to daily from March 2025.

The new route has been made possible by the establishment of the E190 base at Darwin airport, with the size, range and economics of the aircraft opening up routes that that would not be viable with larger aircraft, including the launch of international flights to Dili in Timor Leste in 2022.

The Qantas E190s come in two versions – one with nine seats in business class, the other with 10. Both are configured 1-2, while economy class will be configured in a 2-2 configuration for the almost five-hour flight.

Qantas International CEO Cam Wallace said the Singapore service was a welcome addition to the airline’s international network out of Darwin.

“We’re thrilled to be offering our customers another new international route out of Darwin and strengthening the important trade, business and tourism links between Australia and Singapore,” said Wallace.

“The direct service is not just great news for Territorians wanting to visit Singapore, but also for those travelling to London, Europe and across Southeast Asia, with connections to popular destinations like Phuket and Kuala Lumpur with our partner airlines, saving hours of travel time,” he added.

Qantas has a long history of flying between Darwin and Singapore, with Darwin being the final Australia stop-over on the original Kangaroo Route from Australia to London in 1935. In those days, the flight from Darwin to Singapore took five stops and four and a half days versus a four hours and 45 minutes flight on the new direct service.

More recently, Qantas last operated direct flights between Darwin and Singapore in 2006.

Eligible Qantas customers and frequent flyers will have access to the Qantas Club in Darwin prior to clearing immigration and security. On their return, eligible customers will have access to the Qantas International First or Business Lounge at Singapore’s Changi airport.

The Qantas Group operates 18 routes from Darwin, Alice Springs and Uluru, and nonstop options from Darwin to eight domestic destinations.