QANTAS will ditch some flights from Perth and Adelaide to Asian destinations but increase services from east coast cities as part of an overhaul of its network for the alliance with Emirates.
With just eight weeks to go before the launch of the tie-up, Qantas has detailed a rejig of its Asian network, which will result in flights leaving up to four hours earlier so that they connect better with other services.
Qantas also will stop flying to Frankfurt on April 15 - six months earlier than planned.
The airline will stop services between Adelaide and Singapore on April 14 and between Perth and Hong Kong on March 31. It will reduce Perth-Singapore services from two to one a day.
But it will increase its Brisbane-Hong Kong services from four a week to seven by June, and add four weekly flights between Sydney and Singapore.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon accused Qantas of abandoning South Australia on international routes. The long-haul pilots' union also said it was "a predictable part of the plan to outsource a lot of Qantas' international operations to other operators".
Macquarie Equities analyst Russell Shaw said the reduction in flights from Perth did not "reflect well on Qantas' view of the resources boom". He also pointed out that Singapore Airlines would become the sole operator on the Adelaide-Singapore route once Qantas exited.
But Qantas said the changes would result in more options for people in Perth and Adelaide to travel to Asia and Europe via partner airlines, including Emirates.
It says the number of Qantas flights to Asian destinations will remain about the same after the changes but the number of seats available will increase because seats previously set aside for Europe-bound passengers will now be available to those heading to Asia.
The airline has also flagged that it will consider increasing flights to destinations such as Beijing and Delhi from 2016 using longer-range Dreamliner planes.
It has also named Seoul, Mumbai and Tokyo's Haneda Airport as possible destinations.
Analysts treated the announcement with caution because it depends on Qantas turning around its international operations. It is yet to decide whether it will turn into firm orders the options it has to buy the longer-range 787-9 Dreamliners at a set price.
Qantas and Emirates still need final approval for their alliance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. It is expected to make a decision in March.
Qantas' budget offshoot, Jetstar, has announced that a former senior manager at TNT, Edward Lau, will become the inaugural chief executive of Jetstar Hong Kong. The budget airline needs approval from authorities in Hong Kong before it can launch services in the middle of the year.