Qantas to open temporary lounge in Darwin

Qantas will open a temporary lounge to cater for eligible customers travelling between Sydney and London via Darwin from next month.

It follows the announcement that Qantas’ flagship route to the UK will operate via Darwin once Australia’s international borders open on November 1 until at least April 2022 because of Western Australia border closures.

Qantas will lease Darwin International Airport’s Catalina lounge, which will have space for about 100 guests.

Stephanie Tully, Qantas Group chief customer officer, said: “Given the relatively brief transit time of 90 minutes, our focus will be on offering a comfortable space for customers to stretch their legs, enjoy a brunch or light supper and to refresh before their onward journey.

“Previously, our direct flight between Australia and London had the highest customer satisfaction rating on our entire network and our plan is to recreate that as we restart.”

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Passengers eligible to visit the transit lounge in Darwin are Platinum One, Platinum, Gold Qantas Frequent Flyers and Qantas Club members, business class passengers, and eligible One World partner members.

Qantas will also reopen its Sydney International First Lounge from November 1, and its Heathrow and Los Angeles lounges in December 2021.

• Australia will lift a ban next week that has prevented its citizens travelling overseas without permission.

From November 1, people will no longer need an exemption to leave the country, provided they are fully vaccinated.

Only Australians are eligible but some rules for foreigners will be relaxed soon, the government said.

Australia’s home affairs minister Karen Andrews said in a statement: “Fully vaccinated Australians will not require an exemption to depart Australia from November 1, 2021.

“I look forward to further easing restrictions over coming weeks and months as more and more Australians become fully vaccinated.

“Before the end of the year, we anticipate welcoming fully vaccinated skilled workers and international students.

“Our system of border exemptions has kept Australia free from widespread Covid transmission for more than 18 months, but as Australia’s vaccination rate continues to climb, and the end of the year approaches, the Morrison government stands ready to once more welcome a significant number of fully vaccinated people across Australia’s international border.”

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