Qantas readies for non-stop London – Perth flights

Qantas has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in advance of the launch of non-stop flights between London and Perth in March 2018.

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Great Southern Land
Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Great Southern Land (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

In a little under six months Qantas will launch direct flights from London Heathrow to Perth. If the route is a success it will herald the start of a new era in aviation with direct flights to Brisbane and Sydney likely to follow.

Preparations for the launch moved a step closer this week as Qantas first Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner arrived in Sydney bearing the name “Great Southern Land”. Whilst Qantas is a little late getting on the Dreamliner bus, the airline is seizing the opportunity to reassert itself in international travel.

Qantas’ Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner will operate on scheduled international flights on Melbourne to Los Angeles from Friday 15 December 2017. London Heathrow to Perth to follow on Saturday 25 March 2018, by which time Qantas will have four Dreamliners in its fleet. As is par the course for new aircraft types, Qantas will operate the Dreamliner on selected domestic flights in Australia for crew training and familiarisation purposes.
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Qantas moots non-stop flights from London to Sydney

Qantas has challenged Airbus and Boeing to develop aircraft capable of flying non-stop from London to Sydney by 2022.

Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

Qantas announced its annual financial results in Sydney today.  The airline posted a healthy profit before tax of AUD$1.4bn.   This is a sharp turnaround in fortunes for Qantas after it reported a record loss of AUD$2.8bn three years ago.  Much of the turnaround has been achieved through a restructuring of its international network.

In Europe, Qantas suspended twice daily services from London Heathrow to Sydney via Singapore and Bangkok and to Melbourne via Singapore and Hong Kong in favour of daily services to Sydney and Melbourne via Dubai under a joint-venture with Emirates.

Whilst Qantas seemed to be in retreat in Europe having ceded much market share to the “Big Three” Middle Eastern airlines (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways), its interest has reignited of late.  Qantas is due to launch non-stop flights to Perth in March 2018.  Qantas is also due to open a new lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3 this year.

Qantas has also today given a firm expression of interest in launching non-stop flights between London and Sydney by 2022.

Qantas has tasked aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing to produce new aircraft under development, the Airbus A350 Ultra Long Range and the Boeing 777X respectively, with sufficient range to operate London to Sydney non-stop with no restrictions on passenger loads.

Qantas claim that a non-stop flight between London and Sydney could shave four hours off the journey time.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce commented:

“From next year we’ll be flying direct from Perth to London, which is a huge leap forward. We believe advances in technology in the next few years will make Sydney to London direct a possibility and Qantas is well placed to be the airline to do it.

“Any aircraft purchase would have to meet strict financial thresholds, but these direct flights would be revolutionary for air travel in Australia.”

Airlines do not ordinarily give away commercial decisions on route launches away years in advance, and this is a very public message aimed squarely at aircraft manufacturers to sharpen their pencils.

It is also axiomatic that the viability of non-stop flights from London to Sydney will depend on how non-stop flights to Perth are received, both in terms of cabin comfort and whether passengers, particularly those at the front of the aircraft, are willing to pay a premium for non-stop services.

Personally, we would love to see non-stop flights to Sydney and for Qantas to rebuild its presence in London back to four flights a day.

Also today, Qantas announced a refurbishment of its Airbus A380 fleet which will include new business class and premium economy cabins and “refreshed” First Class and economy cabins.

 

Qantas withdraws QF9 / QF10 London Heathrow – Dubai – Melbourne route in favour of Perth stopover

Qantas its to withdraw its London Heathrow – Dubai – Melbourne route from Sunday 25 March 2018.

Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

Following the news today that Qantas is to fly direct from London Heathrow to Perth from Sunday 25 March 2018, Qantas has also confirmed it is to also withdraw its service from London Heathrow to Melbourne via Dubai, operated with the Airbus A380.

Instead, passengers wishing to travel between London and Melbourne courtesy of Qantas can either fly on an Emirates codeshare service with a change of aircraft in Dubai.

Alternatively passengers can connect on to Qantas’ non-stop Boeing 787-900 service between London Heathrow and Perth which will ultimately originate and terminate in Melbourne.
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Qantas to launch non-stop London Heathrow – Perth flights from Saturday 24 March 2018

Qantas will fly non-stop between London Heathrow and Perth from Saturday 25 March 2018.

Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

Qantas has today confirmed the launch date of non-stop daily flights between London Heathrow and Perth. 

The new direct route will launch from Perth on Saturday 24 March 2018 and from London on Sunday 25 March 2018.  

It will also replace Qantas’ existing London Heathrow – Dubai – Melbourne service.

Flights are on sale now at Qantas.com.

At the time of writing return fares (including a Saturday night stay) near to launch are in the region of £1,260 for economy and £4,231 for business class.
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Qantas CEO Alan Joyce moots non-stop flights between London Heathrow and Sydney & Melbourne

This week’s Australian Financial Review magazine carries an extensive feature on Qantas. It is well worth a read. Much of the feature focuses on the work Qantas is doing to prepare for non-stop flights between London Heathrow and Perth.

Last year, Qantas gained a huge amount of favourable worldwide publicity when it announced non-stop flights between London Heathrow and Perth.

These flights are due to go on sale in April 2017 in advance of the route’s launch in March 2018. Whilst Qantas is still keeping some details under wraps, such its new premium economy seat, it has given the AFR some insight into its preparations for the new route. Specifically, Qantas is looking at the whole “ultra long-haul” in flight experience. This includes the design and timing of in flight meals, cabin lighting and in-flight announcements.

Also of note is that Qantas raises the possibility of non-stop flights between London and Sydney with the Ultra Long Range version of the Airbus A350-900 aircraft and Boeing 777-8X aircraft.
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Qantas to launch non-stop flights from London Heathrow to Perth from March 2018

Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)
Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

Qantas Airways is to launch a new direct non-stop route from London Heathrow to Perth in Western Australia from March 2018.

This is the first scheduled non-stop direct link between Europe and Australia.

There have been non-stop flights between Europe and Australia in the past, but only as one-off charter flights with a significantly lighter weight.

At a distance of 14,498 kilometres and a fight time of approximately 17 hours, this will be one of the longest “ultra long haul” non-stop flights in the world.   This is a time saving of 3-4 hours on one stop services.

Qantas has yet to announce the exact departure and arrival times of the flights and flights will not go on sale until April 2017.   If Qantas is to use departure slots from its existing Heathrow portfolio a departure time of around either 12 midday or 10pm is likely.

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BA claims substantial improvement on London-Singapore-Sydney route

International Airlines Group held its annual Capital Markets Day on Friday 15 November 2013.   This is an event where a very large volume of financial and strategic material is presented to institutional investors and analysts.   However, there are small items of news (more to follow) of interest to the public at large.

One concerns the London-Singapore-Sydney route.  Ever since Qantas jettisoned its partnership with BA in favour of a joint-venture with Emirates there has been speculation as to whether BA would be able to continue to serve Australia directly.

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