Australia’s first direct flight to UK launched
PERTH - Agence France-Presse
The maiden flight of the non-stop regular passenger service touched down at London’s Heathrow Airport yesterday afternoon.
Qantas’ 14,498 kilometer (9,009-mile) journey from the southwestern city to London is the world’s third-longest passenger flight, the Australian carrier said, and the first ever regular service to connect the two continents directly. Captained by Lisa Norman, it will also be the longest Boeing Dreamliner flight in the world.
The new link is part of Qantas’ ambitious plans, unveiled over the past two years, to add ultra long-haul flights to its global schedules.
This will eventually include non-stop flights from Australia’s eastern seaboard to Europe in an effort dubbed “Project Sunrise.”
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce last year said such flights were “the last frontier of global aviation ... the antidote to the tyranny of distance and a revolution for air travel in Australia.”
It is not the first time Qantas has undertaken a direct flight from Australia to Europe.
The carrier in 2015 flew a one-off charter service from Perth to Istanbul to take Australians to Turkey’s Gallipoli to mark a centenary since troops from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) fought there in World War I.
Qantas also flew one non-stop passenger flight from London to Sydney in 1989 with a Boeing 747.
Some of the world’s longest non-stop international flights include Qatar Airways’ 14,535-kilometer Doha-Auckland service and Emirates’ Dubai-Auckland 14,200-kilometer service.