Qantas is set to add to its list of aviation firsts, with the national carrier confirming it will operate non-stop flights from Perth to London using the 787-9 Dreamliner.
The 14,498 kilometre service will be the first regular passenger service to directly link Australia with Europe when it begins in March 2018.
The news came just two days before Melbourne-Los Angeles was announced as Qantas’ first international Dreamliner route, a service that will start in December 2017.
“When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops,” says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. “Now it will take just 17 hours from Perth non-stop,” he said.
“This is a game-changing route flown by a game-changing aircraft. Australians have never had a direct link to Europe before, so the opportunities this opens up are huge.
“It’s great news for travellers because it will make it easier to get to London,” Joyce said.
Joyce said passenger comfort on the long flight was a key consideration.
“When we designed the interior of our 787s, we wanted to make sure passengers would be comfortable on the extended missions the aircraft was capable of,” he said.
“That’s why we have features in our Economy seats that other airlines reserve for Premium Economy. Our Business Suite has been nicknamed ‘mini First class’ by many of our frequent flyers. And we’re redesigning our on-board service to help reduce jetlag,” he added.
The enhanced Qantas cabin design is in addition to the comfort factors that Boeing built in to the Dreamliner – improved air quality, lower cabin noise and technology to reduce turbulence.
The new flight will operate through Qantas’ existing domestic terminals (T3/4), which will be upgraded to accommodate international flights. The airline’s current international services from Perth (to Singapore and to Auckland) will also move to this terminal, helping to simplify the journey for thousands of people every year. Qantas will move its operations to an expanded Terminal 1 at Perth Airport by 2025, pending a commercial agreement.
“We’ll be looking at the timing of our domestic flights through Perth to offer the best connections we can to our international flights, particularly given they will all be under the one roof,” Joyce said.
Seats on the Perth-London flights will go on sale in April 2017 for the first services in March 2018.