Down under on the Dreamliner

Boeing 787-9 VH-ZND (c/n 63390), Qantas’ fourth Dreamliner, departs London Heathrow for Perth on the first regular direct service between Europe and Australia. The aircraft’s livery is based on the work ‘Yam Dreaming’ by late Northern Territory artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye, whose name the aircraft bears.
Ian Harding

The first regular direct flight between Europe and Australia is in operation after Qantas started flying a new Perth–London Heathrow roundtrip with the Boeing 787-9. At around 17 hours long, the non-stop service covers 7,828 nautical miles (14,498km), making it the longest yet served with a 787 and the secondlongest airline flight currently in operation after Qatar Airways’ Doha to Auckland, New Zealand, route.

Flight QF9 departs Perth at 18:50hrs local and arrives into Heathrow at 05:10hrs local the next day, with the return flight QF10 leaving Heathrow at 13:30hrs local and landing in Perth at 13:15hrs local the following day. The five times a week flight is operated by four pilots and 12 cabin crew

Markus Svensson, Qantas Regional Manager UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa.told AIR International the new route is “performing very well and we are expecting very full flights in both directions”. Svensson said Qantas’ focus is to bed down the new service, but added: “Having a western hub in Perth provides us with plenty of new network opportunities, such as the possibility of flights to other European countries such as France and Germany.”

Qantas has challenged Airbus and Boeing to give the A350 and 777 the range to make direct flights such as London–Sydney possible. Svensson said: “Both Boeing and Airbus have responded really well, with dedicated teams in Seattle and Toulouse working with our inhouse teams. If the manufacturers can produce an aircraft with the capability to make the distance with a full payload, we’d look to do a request for proposals next year with deliveries from 2022.” Mark Broadbent