12 DEC 16
QANTAS is set to launch what will be one of the longest commercial flights in the world, come March 2018, when it begins non-stop Perth to London services onboard its newly-ordered Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
A commercial impasse failed to derail Qantas’ plans for a non-stop option to Europe from Australia, currently only achievable from the west coast. The flights, which will take up to 17 hours from Perth, will be the longest Dreamliner flight in the world and be the first non-stop service to the UK, and the infamous “Kangaroo Route”.
Flights will run out of Qantas’ current domestic terminal precinct, on the western side of the airfield, after the State Government approved a $14 million investment for essential upgrades to the infrastructure, after both Qantas and Perth Airport were in a deadlock on whom should foot the bill.
These upgrades include the provision of an international-domestic swing gate, new international departure and arrival areas and Border Security, Customs and Quarantine facilities.
The long journey won’t come without a comfortable ride. The Boeing 787-9 will house 236 passengers, comprising 42 business class, 28 premium economy and 166 economy seats, with an extra inch of legroom.
Qantas’ passengers travelling from the east coast will have a seamless transfer from domestic to international services. This new service will mainly rely on business travellers who prefer a local one-stop option to Europe, carrying up to 150,000 passengers a year.
Flights will open for booking by April next year. The airlines’ current international services to Singapore and Auckland will also move to the upgraded terminal precinct by this time.
Perth Airport and Qantas have also made an agreement to move all of their domestic and international services to a new terminal at Airport Central by the end of 2025.
Qantas’ CEO, Alan Joyce said,
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.
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.
We’ll be looking at the timing of our domestic flights through Perth to offer the best connections we can to our international flights, particularly given they will all be under the one roof.
I’d like to acknowledge the support of the West Australian Government and Perth Airport in helping make this service a reality.