Qantas will make history this weekend with the first non-stop scheduled passenger flight between the UK and Australia.
The inaugural flight from Perth will arrive at Heathrow early on Sunday morning before leaving at lunchtime on the 17-hour journey back to Australia. The flying time compares with the four days or 55 hours that the original London to Sydney route took in 1947, when six stops were made.
Qantas has spent two years planning the flight, which is on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Computer software has been used daily since 2016 to simulate the journey using winds encountered along the way. The carrier now has new lounges at Heathrow and Perth, the latter being dedicated to the 787 flight, which will start and terminate at Melbourne.
It will not be the first time that Qantas has flown non-stop between London and Australia. In 1989, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet flew to Sydney in just over 20 hours. However, it carried only 23 people, including the crew and used a special fuel mix.
Also on Sunday, Qantas will switch the stopover on the conventional UK-Australia route back to Singapore after a five-year absence. The routing was switched to go via Dubai following a deal with Emirates, but Qantas has now returned to what is its largest hub outside Australia. From Sunday, 53 Qantas flights a week will operate between London and Singapore.
Qantas and Emirates have renewed their partnership for another five years despite the change.