Qantas is set to fly the first ever flight connecting the UK and Australia on Sunday, departing Heathrow Terminal 3 at 1:15pm.
A 787-9 Dreamliner will fly passengers 14,498 kilometres around the World without stopping, taking 17 hours in total and becoming the second-longest passenger flight in the world.
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 Group CEO Alan Joyce said the history-making route would be a watershed for travel, tourism and trade.
“When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops. Now it will take just 17 hours from Perth non-stop.
“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. It’s great news for Western Australia because it will bring jobs and tourism. And it’s great news for the nation, because it will bring us closer to one of our biggest trade partners and sources of visitors.”
Mr 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.
“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.
Mr Joyce said the direct route is expected to appeal to travellers on the East Coast as well as West Australians, helping to deliver a tourism boost.
“A direct flight makes travelling to Australia a much more attractive proposition to millions of people. We expect many travellers from Europe will start their time in Australia with a visit to Perth before going on to see other parts of the country.
“Our modelling shows that people from the East Coast as well as South Australia would fly domestically to Perth to connect to our non-stop London service. Some will take the opportunity to break their journey, whether it’s for business meetings in Perth, to holiday or to visit family.”