British Airways has announced it will no longer directly serve Melbourne from March 26 next year.
Instead the carrier will terminate its current Melbourne service in Singapore and transfer passengers onto alliance partner Qantas. Alternatively, BA passengers will be offered bookings for a new direct Qantas service to Melbourne via Hong Kong.
BA says its decision to withdraw from the Melbourne route is a cost-saving measure as "the route hasn't been performing as well as expected". The airline says the planes that would have been used to serve Melbourne can be more profitably employed on new routes and services that BA is simultaneously launching to China and India.
The move comes at a time of ferocious competition on the "kangaroo route" both from the Asian carriers and the newly emerging Gulf-based airlines. These carriers' strategically placed hubs allow myriad connections to cities all over Australasia. By contrast, the economics of operating such a long route restrict point-to-point carriers like BA and Qantas into the number of cities they can serve.
Report by Alex McWhirter