Australian airline Qantas has launched its first Perth to London return flight, marking the start of the only direct air link between Australia and Europe, and the fastest way of travelling between the two countries.
The daily QF9 begins in Melbourne, flying to Perth before then flying 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
Qantas chose its newest Dreamliner ‘Emily’ to operate the inaugural service, which features a striking livery based on the artwork Yam Dreaming by Indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye. The initiative is part of the national carrier’s commitment to promoting the best of Australia to the world.
Operated by a Boeing 787-9, the 17-hour, 14,498km route reduces total travel time by eliminating stopovers and taking advantage of the most favourable winds on any given day without having to factor in a mid-point in the Middle East or Asia when choosing a flight path.
“This is a truly historic flight that opens up a new era of travel,” says Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. “For the first time, Australia and Europe have a direct air link. The original Kangaroo Route from Australia to London was named for the seven stops it made over four days back in 1947. 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.”
The airline executive has assured passengers on the ultra-long-haul route the most comfort possible. “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.”
The launch of the inaugural flight on March 24 coincided with the opening of the airline’s new Perth International Transit Lounge, featuring jetlag reducing lighting as well as pre-flight stretching classes and relocating of all of the airline’s domestic and international flights into a single terminal at Perth Airport for faster, smoother connections. The lounge is open to customers transiting in Perth when travelling on QF9 from Melbourne to London and QF10 from London to Melbourne. It is also open to customers beginning their journey in Perth to London. Eligible customers include customers travelling in Business, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One Frequent Flyers, oneworld Emerald and Sapphire customers and Qantas Club members and their guests.
The Perth International Transit Lounge has been designed by Australian Industrial designer David Caon in consultation with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre using an evidence-based approach to wellness. The lounge offers a range of unique features including ‘light therapy’ in the bathrooms to help adjust the body clock, a wellbeing studio with stretching classes and a refresh zone providing hydrating face products. Customers can dine in an open-air terrace with a BBQ serving gourmet dishes by Neil Perry.