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History is made as Qantas nonstop lands in London

March 26, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The first Qantas nonstop scheduled commercial flight from Perth to London landed at Heathrow Airport yesterday afternoon Australian time (early Sunday morning British time) – and the airline’s new Perth International Transit Lounge finally opened, just in time to pamper passengers before takeoff.

The history-making flight QF9 carried 16 crew and more than 200 passengers, including Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce. It marks the beginning of non-stop flights between Australia and Europe – the fastest way of travelling between the two continents. The route may be followed by non-stop flights to the US and other distant points.

Operated by a B787-9, the flight reduces total travel time by eliminating stopovers. For the first time, it’s no longer necessary to stop in the Middle East or Asia when choosing a flight path. It is, however, necessary to stop in Perth, if you’re flying from Australia’s east coast – although non-stop flights to London from Sydney will happen in the foreseeable future.

“The original Kangaroo Route from Australia to London was named for the seven stops it made over four days back in 1947,” Joyce said. “Now we can do it in a single leap.

Joyce said response to the flight had been “amazing, both for the attention it’s received since we announced it and the bookings we’ve seen coming in. It’s great for Australian tourism, for business travellers and for people visiting friends and family on both sides of the world.”

Bodhi J Wellness Spa Retreat is part of the new Perth International Business Class Transit Lounge

The B787-9 was “hands-down the most comfortable aircraft that Qantas has ever put in the sky,” Joyce said.

The daily QF9 begins in Melbourne, flies to Perth and then flies non-stop to London. Qantas has adjusted the timing of some domestic services into Perth so that passengers from Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane can join the flight to London.

The historic route recorded by FlightAware

 

Australian Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo said the convenience and appeal of non-stop travel could not be underestimated.

“Consumer research highlights that time is one of the biggest barriers for UK consumers,” Ciobo said.

Captain Lisa Norman and crew on flight deck before takeoff. With Captain Norman were Captain Jeff Foote, First Officer Dave Summergreene and Second Officer Troy Lane.

 

“The development of these ultra-long-range aircraft is a game changer for Australia’s tourism industry,” Ciobo added.

Yesterday’s first flight coincided with the opening of the new Perth International Transit Lounge, featuring jetlag reducing lighting as well as pre-flight stretching classes conducted by Bodhi J. All Qantas domestic and international flights are being relocated into the same terminal at Perth Airport “for faster, smoother connections”.

QF9 lands at Heathrow on time, 17 hours and 21 minutes after takeoff, as recorded by FlightAware

 

The terminal has own immigration and customs area, duty-free store, bars and cafés. Anyone flying Qantas from Perth to London Heathrow can access the international lounge in Perth.

TEN FAST FACTS ABOUT THE NEW ROUTE AND ITS HISTORY

New Qantas lounge at Perth Airport

  1. QF9 is operated by four pilots across the 17-hour journey, with one or two pilots resting at any one time.
  1. The flight will follow different flight paths depending on the best winds, helping the aircraft fly faster and more efficiently. Qantas analysed a decade of seasonal wind patterns in preparation for the new service.
  1. At 14,498km, QF9 is the third longest commercial flight currently in operation. It is the world’s longest Dreamliner flight.
  1. QF9 will carry around 92 tonnes or 110,000 litres of fuel with the Dreamliner burning approximately 20 per cent less than traditional aircraft its size.
  1. With a total seat count of 236 passengers, the Qantas Dreamliner has significantly fewer seats than those of many other airlines, which have configured the same aircraft to carry more than 300 passengers.
  1. Currently, most aircraft have cabin air pressure equivalent to an altitude of 8000 feet. For the Dreamliner, Boeing cut that down to 6000 feet, meaning it’s closer to conditions on the ground.

7.  Menus for the flights between Perth and London have been designed to maintain hydration, aid sleep and reduce jetlag. They include poké bowls as well as home-style comfort food. Poké bowls (pronounced ‘poh-keh’) are a popular Hawaiian dish typically made from tuna, rice and vegetables.

  1. In 1935, flights between London and Australia took 12 days with up to 31 stopovers. Flights stopped in Paris, Brindisi, Cairo, Karachi, Rangoon, Singapore and Darwin, among other places.
  2. In 1947 a return flight from Sydney to London cost the equivalent of 75 weeks wages. It can now cost less than one week’s earnings. In 1947 a return flight from Sydney to London cost 525 Australian pounds when the average wage was 7 Australian pounds. Today, the average Australian weekly wage is AUD 1600 and a return fare from Perth to London can cost less than AUD 1300.
  3. More than 21,000 individual items are loaded onto the aircraft for each flight between Perth and London including 330 peppermint tea bags and hundreds of chocolate biscuits.

Written by Peter Needham

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