Next year the Boeing 787-9 will begin operating the first non-stop scheduled service between Australia and Europe when Qantas introduces a new route between Perth and London Heathrow. The route will begin in March 2018 and will take around 17 hours depending on winds.
The only previous non-stop commercial aircraft flight between Australia and Europe took place in August 1989, with the delivery of Qantas’ first 747-438 VH-OJA City of Canberra (c/n 24354), but that was a one-off. Qantas’s scheduled ‘Kangaroo Route’ services to London from Sydney and Melbourne, today operated by A380s, have always had a stopover. Historically, that was in Singapore, but since April 2013 it has been in Dubai as part of Qantas’ partnership agreement with Emirates.
Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said the direct Perth–London flight would be a “game-changing” route for travel between Europe and Australia, with a 17-hour flight a more attractive travel proposition than the typical 24-hour flight. Qantas will upgrade its facilities in Perth’s T3/4 to accommodate the new flight and will also move its current international services to the same terminal to improve connectivity across the airline’s network.
Perth–London will be the longest service yet operated by a Dreamliner, but it will not be the world’s longest non-stop air route. In February 2017, Qatar Airways will take on that distinction when it launches a new 9,036 miles (14,542km) route between Doha and Auckland.