The first nonstop flight between Australia and the UK has landed at London’s Heathrow Airport. A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner carrying over 230 passengers and crew completed its 14,498km (9,009-mile) journey from Perth in 17 hours.
Captain Lisa Norman, one of four pilots on board, told passengers of Qantas Flight QF9 after touchdown: “I would like to welcome you to the history book of aviation… Today we are on this amazing historic flight which is the fastest flight between Australia and the UK that has ever occurred.”
The historic flight is the world’s second-longest after Qatar Airways’ flight from Doha to Auckland, which spans 14,535km (9,032-miles), lasts over 16 hours and crosses 10 time zones.
Qantas chief Alan Joyce said the success of the Perth-London route could pave the way for launching direct flights from Perth to Paris.
On arrival at London Heathrow at 05.05 today, Qantas was presented with the anna.aero “Platinum Planet Prize”, an award recognizing the world’s first-ever non-stop route from Australia to Europe.
While Qantas has been serving Heathrow since the 1940s, this is the first time that the carrier has been able to link the far-flung continents without any kind of refueling stop en-route.
The award was officially presented to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce on arrival in London by the Publisher of anna.aero, Paul Hogan (not Crocodile Dundee – that actually is his real name).
Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas said: “Qantas has been preparing for this historical, record-breaking, new route for almost a century since we were founded in 1921. Now, on touchdown in London, with the presentation of the anna.aero Platinum Planet Prize, this historical new route is instantly an award-winning route. I’ll accept this honor on behalf of Qantas, but I dedicate it to all the people who have served this great airline throughout its history, and who have worked ceaselessly for the delivery of the first-ever nonstop route between Australia and London.”
Simon Eastburn, Director of Airline Business Development at Heathrow, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the very first direct air link between Europe and Australia, a true milestone moment, for a hugely popular route. We have been developing Terminal 3 to bring passengers new and exciting experiences and this new service from Qantas certainly enables that, being of real benefit to tourists, families and business travelers alike.”
Perth Airport Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Brown, said: The Qantas inaugural flight to London is an historic moment for Western Australia, as Perth becomes not only a gateway to the United Kingdom but Australia’s Western Hub. “We are delighted that this world-first service is happening at Perth Airport and will connect people to a world full of possibilities,” Mr Brown said.