New Perth to London flight lands in UK
The maiden flight of a new non-stop regular Qantas service between Australia and the UK has arrived at London's Heathrow airport.
Qantas 9 (QF9) touched down at Terminal Three at 5.03am London time, just over 17 hours after setting off from Perth at 7pm on Saturday.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner completed the 14,498km journey to arrive slightly earlier than the scheduled arrival time 5.05am.
The UK's longest non-stop regular passenger flight will set off back for Perth at 1.15pm on Sunday.
Australia is now directly linked to the UK by air for the first time with the start of the non-stop flights between Perth and London, and flights connecting the east coast could begin in 2022.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline had challenged Airbus and Boeing to produce an aircraft capable of flying direct to Heathrow and New York from Sydney and Melbourne.
"And we're getting close," Mr Joyce told reporters in Perth on Saturday.
"By the end of this year, we'll know if both aircraft can do it."
If both can manage the range, Qantas will call for tenders next year and place an order, with the aircraft likely to be ready by 2022.
"It's not that far away and the opportunity for all of us in that is quite massive," he said.
The new route from the West Australian capital to London on Qantas' new 787-9 Dreamliner shaves several hours off the journey for those departing Perth.
For travellers coming to Perth from Melbourne, however, the total time saving for the journey to Heathrow is only about one hour.
But travellers from London to Melbourne and vice versa are allowed one free stopover in Perth.
Convenience is also expected to be a drawcard, given passengers fly to Perth then embark on their long-haul journey from the same airport.
Previously, travellers had to take the short but fiddly trip from the domestic airport to the separate international terminal.
That's no longer necessary for those flying Qantas because Terminal 3 at Perth Airport has been converted to a dual domestic-international operation, hosting all of the flying kangaroo's overseas routes.
Mr Joyce said the airline expected to make a profit on the route from the very first flight, which hadn't been seen in the industry for a long time.
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