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Qantas pauses Perth to London route due to expected Iranian attack on Israel | Qantas

Qantas has been forced to pause its non-stop flights from Perth to London to avoid Iranian airspace amid fears Tehran is planning an imminent attack on Israel.

As the world braces for a potential flare up in the region, the airline’s Perth to London flights will instead operate via a stop in Singapore for the foreseeable future.

The roughly 17-and-a-half hour flight to London’s Heathrow airport – the only non-stop regularly scheduled commercial flights between Australia and the United Kingdom – are only achievable on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with a route over Iranian airspace.

A Qantas spokesperson confirmed the non-stop flights from Perth were operating to a modified route due to concerns about Iranian airspace.

“We’re temporarily adjusting the flight paths for our flights between Perth and London due to the situation in parts of the Middle East,” the spokesperson said.

“We’ll reach out to customers directly if there’s any change to their booking.”

The Perth-London service, normally QF9, has now been assigned QF209, and stops via Singapore to refuel.

The return leg, from London to Perth, will continue as a non-stop service. The same aircraft, a Boeing 787-9, can fly to a modified path to avoid Iranian airspace without requiring a refuelling stop.

This is because fuel burn and flight times are slightly reduced when flying eastwards due to jetstreams.

On Friday, the foreign minister, Penny Wong, said she had called her Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, urging the Islamic Republic to “use its influence in the region to promote stability, not contribute to escalation”.

“Australia will continue working with partners who have influence in the region to stop the conflict from spreading. Further conflict will only add to the devastation in the Middle East,” Wong said.

Australia also updated its advice for citizens travelling to Israel, warning “there’s an increased threat of military and terrorist attacks against Israel and Israeli interests across the region”.

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“The security situation could deteriorate quickly, with little or no notice,” the warning said.

“This may also result in airspace closures, flight cancellations and flight diversions, and other travel disruptions. Airports may pause operations due to heightened security concerns,” the warning said.

Wong’s message comes amid a push from the United States and its secretary of state, Antony Blinken, calling for governments to pressure Iran out of following through on its threats to retaliate against Israel after its attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus.

Overnight, US president Joe Biden has said he expects an Iranian attack on Israel “sooner rather than later” and issued a last-ditch message to Tehran: “Don’t.”

“We are devoted to the defence of Israel. We will support Israel. We will help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed,” Biden told reporters on Friday in the US.

The White House comments came as several countries, including India, France, Poland and Russia, warned their citizens against travel to the region and Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, said his country was “prepared to defend [itself] on the ground and in the air, in close cooperation with our partners”.

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