With the new year here we can begin the countdown to some very exciting new routes – both locked in and being trialled – coming to Australia in 2020.
Cheap flights are the common side effect of new route announcements, as exiting airlines vye to continue to be the market leader, but also it gives us travellers opportunity to travel with greater ease if needing to make a stopover en-route to our dream vacation destination!
One thing I predict we are sure to see is that competition from Asian airlines continues to grow in Australia. I believe that northeast Asia will be the biggest winner in the region as the popularity of visiting Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea continues to grow.
Vietnam is also going to win as tourism continues to surge to the Southeast Asian country fast becomes a favourite with Aussies seeking something different than the usual Bali or Phuket holidays. Two Vietnam airlines are tapped to begin flights to Australia in 2020: Vietjet and Bamboo Airways.
Finally, I believe Melbourne Avalon Airport is going to finally begin to boom. Previously offering only several domestic flights with Jetstar, this week the airport is celebrating its one year anniversary offering international services between Kuala Lumpur and Avalon. The roaring success has lead to several other low-cost carriers (LLC) seeking to base their Australian flights from here in a massive win for this airport near the Great Ocean Road.
Here are 9 airlines heading to Australia in 2020!
El Al: Tel Aviv (TLV) to Melbourne Tullamarine (MEL)
El Al will be trialling three flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne in April and May 2020, as the Israeli carrier evaluates launching regular non-stop services between the destinations.
These flights will be the longest flights that El Al operate and will be operated using their fresh Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The flight from Tel Aviv to Melbourne will be one of the longest flights in the world as flights are expected to be 16 hours and 15 minutes, with the return expected to take 17 hours and 45 minutes.
The route aids connections for Australia’s growing Jewish community, which is primarily found residing in Melbourne.
Citilink: Bali Denpasar (DPS) to Melbourne Avalon (AVV)
Located just a short drive from Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, it’s not surprising that you have not heard of Melbourne’s second airport. This little airport once serviced only Domestic routes, but a big change is occurring as it becomes a hub for low-cost international airlines wanting to service Melbourne.
After the successful launch of two daily flights from Melbourne Avalon to Kuala Lumpur with AirAsia in 2019, a new airline is joining the departure board beginning over the Australia Day long weekend.
Indonesian low-cost airline Citilink will begin operating daily flights from Avalon Airport to Denpasar onboard their A330neo. Aussie tourists seeking a bargain-priced flight to the popular holiday destination will be seated in the all-economy configuration; if you feel like a little extra legroom you may want to sit in the first few rows called the ‘Green Zone’ for a few extra dollars.
This will be the second Australian city that Citilink operate from after launching flights from Perth to Denpasar in late 2019.
Read next: How to get to Melbourne Avalon Airport
Vietjet: Ho Chi Minh (SGN) to Brisbane (BNE) and Melbourne Avalon (AVV)
With the rise in popularity of Vietnam with Australians, it’s exciting to see Vietnamese low-cost carrier, Vietjet launching two routes to Australia in 2020!
The first will be to Brisbane International, originally slated to launch in late 2019. At the time of writing, it appears a launch date has not been made public. This service will also allow VietJet to offer flights to Brisbane from both Delhi International and Taipei Taoyuan, via Ho Chi Minh – two of the cities most important tourism markets.
Melbourne’s Avalon Airport will be the second destination to run services between Australia and the Vietnamese capital. Services are set to begin in the second half of 2020, subject to regulatory approval.
According to Reuters, Vietjet plan to fly the Airbus A321XLR to both Australian destinations.
Philippine Airlines: Manila (MNL) to Perth (PER)
In an exciting win for Western Australians, Philippine Airlines will launch a new four-times-weekly non-stop service between Manila and Perth in March 2020.
The Phillipino national carrier will be operating the service on a narrowbody A321neo aircraft in a two-cabin configuration, providing Australian travellers with more options when holidaying.
The first flight is scheduled for March 30, 2020.
Perth Airport is rapidly expanding, having added 400,000 new seats of capacity in the past 12-months and being the hub for Qantas’ non-stop Perth to London services.
This will be Philippine Airlines’ fourth destination in Australia, following Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
Jetstar: Gold Coast Coolangatta (OOL) to Seoul (ICN)
With a rich history, beautiful nature and vibrant food scene, a trip to South Korea is sure to jump to the top of many Australian’s bucket lists now that Jetstar has begun the first low-cost connection to the Korean capital.
Flying between Gold Coast Coolangatta (OOL) and Seoul Incheon (ICN) three times per week onboard their Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners; the service, which launched in December 2019, is already proving popular.
This service is a codeshare partnership with Jeju Air, Korea’s top low-cost carrier.
Bamboo Airways: Ho Chi Minh (SGN) to Melbourne Tullamarine (MEL)
With the launch of Bamboo Airlines, Vietnam’s newest full-service airline, also comes exciting news for Australian travellers.
The ambitious airline wants to fly to Melbourne using their brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner by the second quarter of 2020.
The goal of the airline is to provide services connecting Australia with Europe via Vietnam. This would offer competition to more established airlines, including Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
Currently, state-owned carrier Vietnam Airlines flies one flight daily between Ho Chi Minh and Melbourne Tullamarine onboard an Airbus A350-900.
Jetstar Australia also flies 3-weekly services between the Vietnamese capital and Melbourne Tullamarine on a Boeing 787-8.
Vietnamese low-cost carrier Vietjet has also announced its intention to begin flights to Melbourne Avalon in 2020.
Virgin Australia: Melbourne (MEL) to Bali Denpasar (DPS)
Australia’s who want to holiday in Indonesia’s holiday capital, Bali, now is the time to book a trip!
Virgin Australia is re-launching flights from Melbourne Tullamarine to Bali Denpasar in 2020.
Services will be operated on a Boeing 737 and operate five-time a week.
One thing travellers will enjoy is the choice of options Virgin Australia offer. While Virgin’s 737’s do operate in a two-class configuration, they also offer Economy X on this flight. Passengers who upgrade will receive extra legroom, priority screening and boarding, and allocated overhead baggage storage.
Virgin Australia will be one of three full-service carriers on the route departing Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, including Indonesian Airline Garuda and Qantas.
The route is also served by two low-cost carriers, including Malaysia’s Malindo Air and Jetstar Australia.
Indonesian low-cost carrier CitiLink will be launching direct flights from Melbourne’s Avalon Airport, located 60-kilometres southwest of Tullamarine, in late January 2020.
Virgin Australia: Brisbane (BNE) to Tokyo Haneda (HND)
Australia’s appetite for Japan continues to grow! In order to meet the demand, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport granted Virgin Australia a slot, allowing it to launch daily services between Brisbane and Tokyo-Haneda in March.
Virgin Australia plans to fly their Airbus A330-200, with flights beginning 29 March 2020.
Virgin Australia has also recently announced a new partnership with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA). This allows travellers to earn frequent flyer points and codeshare of select flights.
Tokyo-Haneda is one of the city’s two international airports but closer to downtown Tokyo than Narita Airport.
Qantas has also been allocated a slot for daily service from Tokyo-Haneda, however, it is not yet clear how the airline will use this new slot. At the time of writing Qantas flies between Sydney and Haneda, but their Melbourne flights land at Narita airport, which is further from Tokyo’s city centre.
Qantas has a partnership with OneWorld partner JAL for codeshare flights and its frequent flyer programs.
Fiji Airways: Nadi (NAN) to Sydney International (SYD) onboard the A350
I have not yet seen a nation as proud of an aircraft as Fijians are about their national carriers new A350-900s. While I was there last week, taxi drivers pointed out the signs to me, asking if I flew it and the crew were clearly happy to be working the sleek aircraft (the verbal confirmation by a team member I ask did confirm this!).
Fiji Airways new aircraft – one of two introduced to their fleet in late 2019 – is a big boost to tourism efforts for the tiny island nation. Capacity on the route increased by 15% per flight with the aircraft change, which one can assume means that demand to Fiji is increasing and that extra seats are needed to meet the demand.
Fiji Airways aircraft is a huge step up from the A330s which were previously servicing the route. They operate a three-class configuration. With Business class, Bula space seats (Economy seats with extra legroom for an additional fee), and Economy, seas.
The A350’s are solely running on Sydney to Nadi and Nadi to Los Angeles flights, though the airline has indicated they want to introduce more of the fuel-efficient variant into their fleet sooner rather than later.
It’s clear the airline has big ambitions in the Pacific market as Fiji Airways have been touting this flight as being Sydney to Los Angeles via Nadi.
With Fiji Airways offering direct services from Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney, and competitive prices on seats to Los Angeles, a one-stop option may be favourable for some passengers should Fiji’s Nadi International Airport be able to perfect the transit experience.
Currently, both Auckland and Melbourne are far more transit-friendly than Sydney and Honolulu, which may be appealing for travellers from Adelaide, Canberra, and Perth who have no other option but to transit through one of these locations to reach Los Angeles.
Read next: Flight Review – Fiji Airways A350 Economy Review (Coming soon!)
Other potential developments
Turkish Airlines: is 2020 the year they fly to Australia?
There have been talks for years that Turkish Airlines wants to launch flights to Australia, yet nothing has manifested yet. With the move to Istanbul New Airport complete and have now received their first batch of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, could 2020 be the year that the Istanbul-based carrier begins flights to Australia?
I believe that the biggest barrier to Turkish launching this sought-after route – and providing Australians with a partner to connect to the Middle East and Europe – comes down to the range. Istanbul to Sydney is roughly 14,950km. That’s 480km further than Qantas’ current Perth – London service, which takes almost 18 hours of flying time. It also means that the route lies beyond the range of the 787-9.
One option is that Turkish could fly to Sydney via an intermediate destination, operating a Fifth Freedom route.
Currently, Turkish Airlines relies on its Star Alliance partnerships with Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand to service Australia and New Zealand.
Hobart Airport to… the world?
It was announced in late 2019 that Hobart Airport is keen to improve the terminal and adding international flights to Australia’s ‘apple isle’.
As a booming tourism destination in its own right, Tasmania is a popular destination for Chinese and Southeast Asian travellers. As the last capital city in Australia not offering international flights, it represents a great opportunity for the right carriers, particularly as an export destination with the island producing an abundance of crops and home to a large wine industry.
Currently, most travellers wishing to visit Tasmania travel via Melbourne before connecting onto a one-hour flight to Hobart Airport (HBT). It also competes with Launceston Airport (LST) located 177 kilometres away by road.
Qantas Planning on Flying Direct to India?
At Qantas‘ Investor Day Presentation it was announced that the airline is considering flights between Australia and India.
The growing middle class among its 1.37 billion population represents Australia’s fastest-growing inbound market, and Qantas is kept for a slice of that pie.
At the Investors Day Presentation, it was cited that the country still represents “low volumes, fragmented over many cities and low yield”. However, they did state that a “South-East Asian hub[s] remains (the) best way to service demand”.
This potentially cites Qantas and/or Jetstar’s Singapore hub as a base for flights to key Indian cities “in the medium term.”
Further out, the airlines say, is “long term potential to operate direct services from east coast Australia.”
This would mean that customers living in Melbourne could be in India in as little as 14-hours. Flights from Melbourne to Singapore have a flight time of 7hrs 50minutes, and flights from Singapore to New Delhi have a flight time of 5hrs and 55minutes.
Currently, Air India operates flight from Sydney and Melbourne to New Delhi, though Singapore Airlines carries many passengers to other parts of the country with one-stop in Singapore.