Crack the champagne because Qantas just completed the first-ever direct flight from Perth to London.
Perhaps Monday morning isn’t the best time for champagne, but we’re willing to make an exception for this.
The historical flight marks the first direct air link between Australia and Europe and, at 17 hours and 20 minutes, its the fastest way of travelling between the two continents.
Filled with 200 passengers, including politicians, journalists and holidaymakers and 16 crew, the Qantas Dreamliner 787-9 departed Perth International Airport on Saturday at about 7:00 pm and arrived at Heathrow Airport on Sunday at 5:10 am (local time).
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who was a passenger on the flight, said it was a historic milestone.
“The original Kangaroo Route from Australia to London was named for the seven stops it made over four days back in 1947,” he said.
“Now we can do it in a single leap.”
“The response to the flight has 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.”
Federal Tourism Minister Steve Ciobo said the route would act as a gateway to Western Australia, with flow-on benefits for the rest of the country, reports the ABC.
“For many international visitors the West Australian jewels have been off limits, not because it’s been unavailable to them, but because it’s been too hard to get to as there’s been such a focus on the east coast,” he said.
“It’s never been easier for people from the United Kingdom or more broadly across Europe to come to Australia.”
“We have around 730,000 tourists who come to Australia and I am determined to grow their expenditure and grow their numbers.”
Joyce also commented on the astronomical amount of work that went into the flight, including creature comforts to make the 17 and a half fours more enjoyable.
“This is hands-down the most comfortable aircraft that Qantas has ever put in the sky,” he said.
“Boeing designed the Dreamliner with features to reduce jetlag, turbulence and noise.”
“We’ve taken that a step further with our cabin design, giving passengers more space in every class as well as bigger entertainment screens and more personal storage.”
“We’ve worked with the University of Sydney and our consulting chef Neil Perry to create a menu that helps the body cope better with jetlag and adjusted the timing of when we serve food to encourage sleep.”
Qantas has adjusted the timing of some domestic services into Perth so passengers from Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane can join the daily flight to London.
The aircraft that made the flight, Qantas’ newest Dreamliner ‘Emily’, features a livery by Balarinji based on the artwork Yam Dreaming by indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye.