First direct flight from Australia to London Heathrow takes 17 hours

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The first non-stop flight between Australia and the UK has landed at London.

Qantas 9 (QF9) landed at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 just after 5am – 17 hours after departing Perth on Australia’s west coast.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner completed the journey of around 9,000 miles to touch down two minutes earlier than scheduled.

Previously the flight had to stop in either Singapore or the Middle East but cutting those stopovers out slashed roughly three hours from the previous flight time.

The Qantas flight is the world’s second-longest, after a Qatar Airways service between Doha and Auckland, which covers 9,028 miles.

Qantas said on Twitter that the flight was led by Captain Lisa Norman, Captain Jeff Foote, First Officer Dave Summergreene and Second Officer Troy Lane.

The flight will set off on its return leg to Perth at 1.15pm on Sunday.

The service, the first regular passenger flight linking Australia directly with Europe, was announced in December 2016.

At the time, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said: “When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops.”

After the Dreamliner flight took off, Mr Joyce described it as a “historic day for aviation”.

He added: “From today it will be the first link between Australia and Europe that has ever occurred non-stop in aviation.

“We are so excited.”

The flight will help boost the tourism market for both countries, with more than 730,000 Britons visiting Australia each year.

But tourists had often neglected the west coast of the country, because it was more difficult to travel to and far away from the more populated east coast.

Image:
The Qantas 787 Dreamliner’s crew before they set off for London

Australian Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo said: “There will be more opportunity than ever before for us to continue to showcase and highlight all the very best parts of Australia, including some of the most magnificent and iconic parts of Western Australia.”

Mena Rawlings, Britain’s high commissioner to Australia, described the new service as a “game changer”, adding: “To have the opportunity to get on a plane at Heathrow and step out in Perth is just phenomenally exciting and I’m sure we are going to see lots and lots of people taking advantage of that.”

In numbers:
:: Route: 14,498km (9,000 miles) long
:: Time of journey: about 17 hours
:: Number of passengers: 236
:: Number of Britons visiting Australia last year: 660,000


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