Australian airline QANTAS have announced the world’s first direct flight between Australia and the UK. The airline has said the first of these flights will take place in March 2018.
Not everyone is enthusiastic. Many tourists are pointing out that Perth is not one of the main cities that are visited. Many travel sites do not rate Perth in their top 5. Sydney, Melbourne and Ayres Rock are the favoured destinations. Passenger comfort has also been called into question, as many travelers find economy travel uncomfortable, especially on long haul flights.
Rules laid down by the Federal Aviation administration, state that Pilots cannot work more than 14 hours per day. This raises questions over how many pilots and cabin crew staff will be required for each trip. Significant upgrades to terminals in Perth will be required. Fares are yet to be released, and some people are concerned that the large number of crew, and airport upgrades, could mean higher prices. Average Economy prices on QANTAS website, for a London-Perth one way flight with stops is between £350 and £550.
QANTAS plan to use the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which can seat 236 passengers. The 9,000 mile (14,498 KM) flight will take approximately 17 hours. This will be the longest non-stop passenger route in the world. There is expected to be 14 of these flights each week. Until recent technology developments, this sort of flight was not economically viable.
This is the first direct flight between the two continents, and QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce is excited by this development. Joyce said “The opportunities this opens up are huge.” He went on to say that a direct flight “Would Make Australia a much more attractive proposition for millions of people.”
Joyce was joined by business leaders in heralding this as a new era for trade and tourism. The UK is Australia’s third biggest source of international visitors with 660,000 visitors in 2015.
Australia’s tourism minister Steven Ciobo highlights that this will boost employment and tourism as “People can now explore more areas of Australia.” The hope is to inject Australia’s economy with between £15 and £60 million pounds annually.
QANTAS first launched a flight service between Sydney and London in 1947. The journey took 4 days, had 9 stop off points and had 11 crew members carrying 29 passengers.
Things you could do in 17 hours:
- Watch the first Seven Harry Potter films
- Watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy and two and a half of the Hobbit films
- Watch 18 episodes of Game of Thrones
- Watch or play 12 rugby matches
- Watch or play 11 football matches
- Travel by train between London and Glasgow three times
- Fly to the international space station three times