The first-ever nonstop scheduled passenger flight between Australia and the UK touched down this morning at London Heathrow after completing the 17h sector from Perth.
The inaugural service, Qantas flight QF9, was operated by the airline’s latest Boeing 787-9 which is adorned with special Indigenous artwork created by Balarinji (VH-ZND). It arrived at Heathrow at 05:03 local time today with 16 crew and more than 200 passengers on board (above) after a 17h 3min flight.
The history-making service pushed back in Perth just before 19:00 local time on Saturday evening (below).
“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,” says Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce, who was on board the flight (pictured below).
“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,” Joyce adds.
The inaugural flight was crewed by four pilots: Capts Lisa Norman and Jeff Foote, first officer Dave Summergreene and second officer Troy Lane.
The QF9 daily flight begins in Melbourne with a stop in Perth before the nonstop leg to London. The return flight QF10 will depart Heathrow for Perth at 13:30 local time today.
The airline says the Perth-London sector length of 7,837nm (14,498km) makes QF9 the third longest commercial flight currently, and the longest operated by a 787. It adds that the flight operates with around 92t (or 110,000l) of fuel.