As the first direct flight between Australia and the UK in aviation history touched ground at Heathrow airport on Sunday 25 March, a bright yellow sun ascended over London’s skyline accompanied by blue skies and warm winds.
Londoners who had been battling weeks of Siberian snow and rain could enjoy a touch of what passengers from the sunniest city in Australia, Perth, enjoy 300 days of the year.
With this history making flight now up in the air, Perth is set to become UK and Europe’s gateway to Australia for both tourism and business links.
“This is a truly historic flight that opens up a new era of travel. For the first time, Australia and Europe have a direct air link, said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce who was one of the passengers on-board.
“The original Kangaroo Route from Australia to London was named for the seven stops it made over four days back in 1947. Now we can do it in a single leap.”
On-board the first flight, which carried more than 200 passengers and 16 crew, were also Premier Mark McGowan and Tourism Minister Paul Papalia.
The Premier and Tourism Minister handed out complementary trips to Rottnest Island as they wished bon voyage to passengers heading to Perth, encouraging them to follow the lead of celebrities Margo Robbie and Roger Federer and snap a selfie with the world’s happiest animal the quokka.
At 14,498km, the Qantas Dreamliner is the third longest commercial flight currently in operation.
Qantas analysed a decade of seasonal wind patterns to ensure the flights will follow different flight paths depending on the best winds, helping the aircraft fly faster and more efficiently.
4 Fun Facts about Qantas’ direct flight:
- The plane is as long as six London double decker buses.
- Boeing designed the Dreamliner with features to reduce jetlag, turbulence and noise.
- There are more than 21,000 individual items loaded onto the aircraft for each flight between Perth and London including 330 peppermint tea bags and hundreds of chocolate biscuits.
- In 1947 a return flight from Sydney to London cost £525 when the average wage was £7. Today, the average Australian weekly wage is $1600 and a return fare from Perth to London can cost less than $1300.