History has been made following the departure of Qantas’ first Perth to London flight on Saturday night.
The inaugural trip marks the beginning of the fastest way to travel between Australia and Europe as the only direct air link between the two continents.
Following the aircraft’s successful flight out of Perth, the journey has kicked off a new era in travelling with the flight path eliminating stopovers.
With more than 200 passengers and 16 crew members on board, QF9 will land in London on Sunday at 5am, following the 17-hour, 14,498km haul.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who was one of the passengers on the inaugural flight, described it as a major milestone for Australia as well as global aviation.
‘This is a truly historic flight that opens up a new era of travel. For the first time, Australia and Europe have a direct air link,’ said Mr Joyce.
‘The original Kangaroo Route from Australia to London was named for the seven stops it made over four days back in 1947. Now we can do it in a single leap.
‘The response to the flight has been amazing, both for the attention it’s received since we announced it and the bookings we’ve seen coming in. It’s great for Australian tourism, for business travellers and for people visiting friends and family on both sides of the world.’
QF9 is operated by four pilots across the journey, with one or two pilots resting at any one time.
On board Saturday night was one female pilot, Captain Lisa Norman. About 6 per cent of Qantas pilots are female and globally it is three per cent, a Qantas representative told Daily Mail Australia.
Mr Joyce said a huge amount of work had gone into optimising the experience for customers taking the trip.
‘This is hands-down the most comfortable aircraft that Qantas has ever put in the sky.
‘Boeing designed the Dreamliner with features to reduce jetlag, turbulence and noise. We’ve taken that a step further with our cabin design, giving passengers more space in every class as well as bigger entertainment screens and more personal storage.
‘We’ve worked with the University of Sydney and our consulting chef Neil Perry to create a menu that helps the body cope better with jetlag and adjusted the timing of when we serve food to encourage sleep.’
Qantas will use Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners for the non-stop route, with 42 business class flat-bed seats, 28 premium economy seats and 166 economy seats.
Aviation consultant John Strickland said the launch of the flights is a significant moment for the airline industry.
He told the Press Association: ‘It will be a further test of how successful airlines can be with ultra long haul flying and whether this delivers sufficient profitability to justify the investment in aircraft.
‘Qantas will certainly be hoping to attract a higher proportion of premium customers due to the speed advantage combined with the 787’s better cabin atmosphere.’