In what is game changing news for the Australian travel industry, Qantas has revealed its plans to provide Australian passengers with the first ever direct service to the United Kingdom. The non-stop service will take place exclusively on Qantas’ 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, which will travel 14,498 kilometres from Perth on the West Coast of Australia, non-stop to London in the U.K.
This will be the first time Australian travellers will not have to connect through Asia or the Middle East to get to the U.K. – though it will be an exclusive privilege of Western Australia.
Interestingly, the flights will operate directly out of Qantas’ domestic terminal – which will be upgraded in time for the March 2018 launch of the flights – to encourage expedited domestic transit. The WA Government has committed $14 million to assist with the upgrades, in addition to contributions from the airline and Perth airport. Flights to Singapore and Auckland will also move to the terminal.
Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the route from Australia would be the third longest in the world (by duration), with the 14.5k km journey expected to take about 17 hours, sitting just behind the duration of the 14.2k km journey taking Auckland passengers to Dubai with Emirates and Singapore Airlines’ direct San Francisco service. There is some indication that the return journey from London may outstrip both, however, with an estimated flight time of 17 hour and 30 minutes.
Until a little over a month ago, the Emirates flight from Auckland was the longest in the world, however Air India’s revised route from Delhi to San Francisco sits at 15,127 km, giving them the longest route by distance. Due to the headwinds available on that route, however, it’s usually completed in about 14 and a half hours, paving the way for this new, much anticipated and game changing Qantas service to sit as the second longest flight in the world by distance.
Though given how competitive these longer services are becoming, and the expectation for Singapore Airlines to re-introduce their direct service from Singapore to New York (the previous record holder), don’t be surprised if this list changes between now and the launch of the route in March 2018.
The first seats are set to go on sale in April 2017, with 14 services set to run weekly. Each flight will seat 236 passengers.