Qantas will begin operating non-stop flights between Perth and London in March 2018 with its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Earlier today, Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, announced a deal with Perth Airport and the Western Australian government to pave the way for the new flights.
Clocking in at over 17 hours, this will be the first non-stop flight between Australia and Europe. According to Mr Joyce, “this is a game-changing route flown by a game-changing aircraft. Australians have never had a direct link to Europe before, so the opportunities this opens up are huge.”
Qantas hopes that Perth will become the ‘western gateway’ to Australia and is even considering non-stop flights to other European capitals such as Paris, Rome and Frankfurt. This, of course, depends on the success of the Perth-London route.
This announcement is great news for Perth and WA – especially if it boosts tourism in the state. Travellers from London will have the opportunity to stop over and enjoy WA’s great wine, beaches and other attractions.
Qantas expects many travellers from the East Coast and South Australia flying to London will also choose to connect in Perth rather than in Asia or the Middle East. This is a big assumption given so many airlines compete on these routes, provide great on-board experiences and offer passengers a break halfway through the journey.
By connecting in Perth, East Coast passengers will only save a marginal amount of time (1 to 2 hours). But transiting in Perth could be a more pleasant experience than dealing with the airport in Dubai (or elsewhere). Mr Joyce also believes some people will take the opportunity to break their journey in Perth for business meetings, to holiday or to visit family.
Upgrades at Perth Airport’s domestic terminal will seek to provide a seamless transition for connecting passengers with a new customs and immigration facility. Customers will also have access to the domestic Qantas Club and the excellent new Qantas Business Lounge.
While passengers at the pointy end of the plane may not be worried about flying more than 17 hours non-stop without a break, those in economy may think twice. Qantas hopes that the Dreamliners’ quiet cabin and jetlag-reducing cabin pressure and air quality will make this route attractive to economy passengers as well.
As I wrote about in October, business class will feature the next generation of Qantas’ highly-regarded “Business Suite” – an excellent and attractive product for premium passengers (which I recently reviewed here). There will be 42 business class seats in a 1-2-1 layout.
Qantas domestic Business Suite
Economy passengers are set to enjoy extra legroom, with a new seat design and a 3-3-3 cabin layout.
New Dreamliner economy seats
We await the announcement of a new Premium Economy product as well. The Dreamliners will have 28 premium economy seats in a 2-3-2 layout, but Qantas hasn’t yet revealed details about the seat.
There will be no first class seats.
The Dreamliner is a game changer for Qantas because of its long range and fuel efficiency. It allows airlines to turn a profit on long routes while only carrying a modest number of passengers. Qantas’ Dreamliners will only have a capacity of 236 people – about half of an A380!
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