Qantas has taken delivery of the first of the aircraft it will use to fly non-stop from London to Australia.
The Boeing 787-9 will begin flying from Heathrow non-stop to Perth from March 25 next year. The flight will continue to Melbourne after touching down in Perth following the 18-hour trip.
The Dreamliner will first operate on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route from December 15. It is fitted with 236 seats, about 50 fewer than normal, in order to maximise fuel economy. The 787 is fitted with the airline’s latest Business Suites and a Premium Economy cabin.
Qantas group chief executive Alan Joyce said he was considering the launch of non-stop flights from Paris and Frankfurt to Perth if the service from London proved successful.
Joyce said the capability of the Dreamliner put it in a different category: “We’ve taken delivery of hundreds of aircraft in our 98-year history but only a few of them have been game-changers like this one,” he said.
“In the 1940s the Lockheed Constellation meant we could fly around the world, and in the 1960s the Boeing 707 took us into the jet age and cut flying time in half.
“The Boeing 747 changed the economics of travel for millions of people and the sheer size of the Airbus A380 meant we could reimagine what inflight service was like.
“Our version of the Dreamliner follows in those footsteps. It gives us a combination of flying range and passenger comfort that will change how people travel."