Qantas to launch non-stop flights from UK to Australia in March 2018
17 hours to Oz
The first non-stop flights from the UK to Australia will begin in March 2018, Qantas has confirmed.
The airline will use Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners to cover the 9,000 miles (14,498km) from Perth in Western Australia to London, with flights taking around 17 hours.
While the new route will not be the world’s longest - that honour goes to Air India for its 9,506-mile (15,300km) service from Delhi to San Francisco - it will be the first direct service between the two countries.
"When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops," Alan Joyce, Qantas chief executive, told a news conference yesterday. “Now it will take just 17 hours from Perth non-stop.”
The world's 10 longest flights
- Delhi – San Francisco, Air India, 9,400 miles
- Auckland – Dubai, Emirates, 8,824 miles
- Dallas – Sydney, Qantas, 8,578 miles
- San Francisco – Singapore, United Airlines, 8,446 miles
- Johannesburg – Atlanta, Delta, 8,439 miles
- Abu Dhabi – Los Angeles, Etihad, 8,390 miles
- Dubai – Los Angeles, Emirates, 8,339 miles
- Jeddah – Los Angeles, Saudia, 8,332 miles
- Doha – Los Angeles, Qatar Airways, 8,306 miles
- Dubai – Houston, Emirates, 8,168 miles
Qantas wants Perth to serve as a hub for passengers travelling between eastern Australia and the UK. Currently, most of those making the journey fly via the Middle East or the Far East - through hubs like Dubai or Singapore, for example.
It is also hoped that the new Qantas service will boost tourism to Western Australia (the UK is Australia’s third largest source of overseas arrivals with around 660,000 Britons visiting last year).
The new service will be made possible by the new 787-9 Dreamliner, which has a longer range than other aircraft in the airline's existing fleet.
It will take delivery of its first 787-9 in late 2017; other new routes being considered by Qantas include Sydney-Chicago and Melbourne-Dallas.
The aircraft will have room for 236 passengers, including 42 in business class and 28 in premium economy.
Features include new two self-service bars - one in business and one in economy, a “foot net” to provide extra support for weary limbs, and fully redesigned seats.
The aircraft will feature a new Qantas logo, too.
Business class seats will recline to 80 inches, while seat pitch in economy will be 32 inches. Other features typical of the Dreamliner include high-tech cabin lighting, with a simulated sunrise to “gently wake customers on morning flights”, and larger windows that can be adjusted using electronic controls.