Travel trade and the local office of Italy Tourism have welcomed with excitement the news of Qantas’ new non-stop flights from Australia to Rome, starting mid-2022.
On Wednesday [15 December 2021], Qantas revealed plans to reignite seasonal flights to Rome from 22 June with the only direct service between Australia and continental Europe. Qantas will operate three return Sydney-Perth-Rome flights per week to meet demand over the European holiday peak season, through to 6 October.
Cutting more than three hours off the current fastest travel time to Rome, Qantas will utilise Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on the route designed for long-haul travel.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said strong travel demand since borders re-opened had given the Flying Kangaroo confidence to explore new destinations as travellers look to make up for lost time.
“Italy is the largest market for us in continental Europe for people visiting family and friends from Australia and we think customers will love flying direct to one of the world’s great cities to spend time with loved ones or enjoy Italy,” Joyce said.
Michael Londregan, SVP Global Operations for Virtuoso, applauded QF’s new European route.
“Bravo Qantas! This announcement of flights from Australia to Rome is a vote of confidence in the pent-up demand for luxury travel to Italy, a destination which as recently as 2019 topped the hottest trends list for Virtuoso’s Australian advisors,” Londregan told LATTE.
“Coincidentally, we saw a surge of outbound Virtuoso bookings to Italy in October off the back of the international borders reopening, so the timing for direct flights couldn’t be more perfect.
Londregan continued: “Rome accounts for some 22% of all room nights booked by Virtuoso in Italy which makes it the perfect gateway for Aussie flights, and supports the other luxury travel trends we’re seeing for 2022 for countryside villa experiences and beautiful boutique coastal and lakes properties from the Amalfi right the way to Lake Como.”
For wholesaler Italy brought to you by Entire Travel Group (ETG), Qantas’ announcement is “perfect timing,” says Greg McCallum, Sales and Marketing, Director.
In recent years, bookings to Italy soared to become one of ETG’s top two breadwinners.
“2019 was a fantastic year for Italy sales,” McCallum said. Outside of Rome, the sun-soaked regions of Positano, Capri and Sorento were becoming increasingly mainstream for Australian travellers, he added.
And now, after a pro-longed 18-month COVID hibernation period, Entire Travel Group is back full-throttle, having just loaded 49 itinerary packages across Italy. Options range from suggested independent holidays, to active, private escorted, rail, self-drive and canal boat packages.
“To have a direct flight into the heart of Italy is huge for us,” McCallum told LATTE.
“Southern Italy was so popular for us pre-pandemic. Being 4-hours from Rome, to have Qantas launching flights direct from Australia in peak season to Italy is going to provide a seamless travel experience for our travel advisors’ clients.”
Emanuele Attanasio, Manager Australia & New Zealand, Italian National Tourist Board also commended the Australian carrier.
“It’s great news. With so many other airlines already offering one-stop flights into Italy already – both Emirates at Qatar [Airways] fly into four Italian cities – Qantas was missing out on getting that market share. But now with this direct flight from Australia all the way to Italy for the first time, I believe this will give them an edge on their competitors,” Attanasio told LATTE.
Attanasio said there’s so much going on in Italy in the European summer months, such as the famous Palio di Siena horse race around the streets of Siena, and the Lucca Summer Festivals which often feature big-name artists. “There’s always so much happening around this time of year.”
“As a seasonal service, it would be great to see Qantas extend the service to year-round eventually,” he added.
Rome flight schedule
Qantas last flew into Rome 18 years ago. The reborn route is based on the following schedule.
QF5 will depart Sydney at 17:55 on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday for the 4-hour and 55-minute flight to Perth. After a 90 minute stopover, QF5 will continue on from Perth at 22:20 for long-haul segment to Rome, arriving at 8:45 the next day (16.5 hours later).
QF6 will depart Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport at 10:50 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday bound for Perth. The 15-hour and 45-minute flight touches back down in the WA capital at 8:35 the following day. Following a 90-minute pause on the ground, QF6 heads to Sydney departing at 10:05 and landing at 16:05.
Fares for the new Sydney-Perth-Rome flights are on sale starting from $1,785 return.
Qantas will offer connections to 16 destinations in Europe including Athens, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Nice, Madrid and Paris and 15 destinations within Italy including Milan and Venice.
Qantas recently started new flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Delhi and re-started a number of existing routes from Sydney and Melbourne to destinations including Los Angeles, London and Singapore.