Australia's international airline, Qantas, is preparing to become the first commercial carrier to offer regular non-stop flights directly from Australia to Europe. Using the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the 14,498 km (9,008 mile) route is set to begin in March 2018, and will become the longest direct flight service for a Dreamliner anywhere in the world.
Winging directly from Perth, Western Australia, to London, England, the flight will take around 17 hours in an aircraft that has been kitted out to Qantas specifications. It's claimed to have better air quality and less cabin noise than current long-haul jet airliners, along with new Boeing turbulence reduction technology to further improve the ride for the 236 passengers the Qantas Dreamliner 787-9 has been designed to carry.
"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," said Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce. "That's why we have features in our Economy seats that other airlines reserve for Premium Economy ... and we're redesigning our on-board service to help reduce jetlag."
Among the longest non-stop journeys in place or planned over the next few years, the "Kangaroo Route" will beat out the current long-haul champion at 14,215-km (8,833-mi), Air New Zealand's direct flights from Auckland, New Zealand, to Dubai in the Arab Emirates, which employs an Airbus A380-800 in the role. If, however, Singapore Airlines makes good on its claim to reintroduce a direct Singapore to New York (or Los Angles) of 15,300 km (9,500 mi) route in 2018 with its newly-ordered A350-900ULR aircraft, then Qantas may only hold onto the crown for a short while.
Regardless of other long-haul records, however, the vast gap between Australia and London has always been a tyranny of distance that those in the antipodes have fought hard to overcome. The original Kangaroo Route first flown by Qantas in 1947 from Sydney to London in a Lockheed Constellation, for example, took a staggering four days to complete, and included stops in Darwin, Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi, Cairo, and Tripoli along the way.
"Australians have never had a direct link to Europe before, so the opportunities this opens up are huge," said Joyce. "It's great news for travelers because it will make it easier to get to London ... A direct flight makes traveling to Australia a much more attractive proposition to millions of people. We expect many travelers from Europe will start their time in Australia with a visit to Perth before going on to see other parts of the country."
Replacing its aging fleet of Boeing 747s on the Australia-Europe route, Qantas will introduce the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners progressively from early 2018, with flights planned from March of that year. Tickets for the Perth-London route are set to be available from April 2017 for the first services in March 2018 in all Business, Premium Economy and Economy seating classes.