Qantas announced today that they will be flying direct from London to Australia from 2018 using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. No changes, no stopping to refuel – one direct flight from London to Australia.
Travellers flying to Australia from London have traditionally had to change at hub airports such as Dubai, Qatar, Singapore or Hong Kong: until now. Qantas’ announcement is a welcome relief to travellers flying from London to Australia and vice versa as it means quicker flight times and a far easier journey.
Flight Time From London to Australia Drastically Reduced
Qantas created the Kangaroo route from London to Australia in 1947. At the time, the route took four days and nine stops. It currently takes 21-22 hours on their fastest services (including the necessary changeover). Once they launch the direct flight, it will take 17 hours non-stop.
Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce heralded the move as a game-changer in aviation history and the forerunner of a significant shift in the way people travel to long-haul destinations.
“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.”
The Changing Face of Modern Aviation
Qantas have designed the new 787-9s to provide a superior level of comfort to reflect the extended period of time its passengers will spend on the aircraft. They say that economy seats will enjoy some of the benefits normally reserved for premium economy passengers on other airlines. This pattern continues as you scale the seat class ladder.
Qantas’ built-in features enhance Boeing’s own technological advancements with the new aircraft. These include technology to reduce turbulence, lower the levels of cabin noise and improve cabin air quality.
How does this Affect Hub Airports?
Not only is the Qantas flight the first direct flight from London to Australia, it’s the first direct flight from Europe to Australia – a potential boon to London’s already strong position as a hub airport for European travellers.
It’s clear that Perth also stands to benefit significantly from the new service. “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,” Joyce continues.
One question that has been glossed over in Qantas’s statements is what this means for the airports that passengers have traditionally transited through. Passengers flying from London to Australia with Qantas currently stopover or transit in Dubai.
Clearly, other hub airports across the Middle East and Asia will be affected too, with many travellers expecting to choose to take the direct Australian flight and then transit onwards to their final destination if necessary.
Qantas’ announcement is sure to be welcomed by many travellers with their sights set on heading Down Under from 2018. But it does raise an interesting number of questions too. Does this mean that Qantas will reduce the number of flights from London to Dubai? And from Dubai onwards to Australia? Does it herald the dissolution of 2013’s partnership between Qantas and Emirates? It’s a possibility, though perhaps an unlikely one. Time will tell.
Booking for the new Qantas flights from London to Perth opens in April 2017. The flights will commence in March 2018. Prices are yet to be announced.
Words by Julianna Barnaby.