Qantas Airways Limited, Australia’s national airline, has just announced a new direct flight to London from Perth. Their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, each carrying 236 passengers, will be making the flight. They’ll fly this route for the first time in March 2018, although tickets will be available from April 2017.
The journey will cover 9,000 miles or 14,498 kilometres, and will take around 17 hours to complete. It will be one of the longest passenger flights in the world, while passenger comfort was a top priority in designing the interior of the Qantas Dreamliners according to Alan Joyce, Chief Executive Officer of the airline. In-flight Wi-Fi will allow passengers to access the internet, making emailing, social networking, online gambling and other internet-based activities easy, and improved air quality, lower cabin noise and reduced turbulence are all part of the Dreamliners experience.
Joyce explained that features reserved for Premium Economy passengers on other airlines are seen in Economy Class on Qantas flights, and went on to say that Frequent Flyers have even nicknamed the Business Suite Mini First Class because of the high-quality service and amenities they receive. On the whole it seems that every measure has been taken to make the long flight a comfortable one, and direct connections should make life a lot simpler for travellers.
Sky High Boost for Tourism
Tourism in Australia is currently growing at three times the rate of the rest of the economy. The new direct route is expected to increase this even more; the United Kingdom is the third-largest source of international visitors to Australia and being able to get there directly should attract larger numbers. The flight will also make things easier for Australians who are travelling to London or elsewhere in the UK.
The new flight will initially operate through what are now the domestic arrivals terminals that Qantas runs at Perth Airport. These are to be upgraded to accommodate international flights, and the current international services that Qantas runs from Perth Airport, to Singapore and Auckland, will also move there. Pending a commercial agreement, operations will ultimately move to another expanded terminal at Perth Airport by 2025.
Joyce explained that having all operations in one place will streamline travelling, and that Perth is expected to become a hub for international visitors and for Australians commuting within the country. All of this should bolster the tourism industry and create a huge amount of jobs, both of which will drive prosperity. Steven Ciabo, the Australian Minister of Tourism, has expressed similar sentiments. Joyce added that he wanted to acknowledge the support of the government of Western Australia and of Perth Airport in making the service a reality.
The Newest Kangaroo Route
The direct flight has been dubbed the most recent version of the Kangaroo Route, as the trip from Perth to London was originally called. The first travellers to make this trip set out on the 1st of December 1947, and in addition to the flight it took 4 days, 9 stops and railway travel to reach the destination. Perth was also used as a stopover on flights to London from the 1940s to the 1960s.
The new incarnation of the Kangaroo Route is the latest in an impressive line of achievements for Qantas, including being the first passenger jet service to cross the Pacific in 1959 and the first airline to operate the largest passenger plane in the world, an A 380, on the Sydney-Dallas Route in 2014.
More than 70 years after the Kangaroo Route was created, a flight in the 787-9 Dreamliners will be quicker and more comfortable than these original passengers could ever have imagined.