Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce believes the airline can go on charging more than its rivals for its new 17h Perth to London Heathrow service because premium passengers in particular will pay to avoid a stop.

The Australian flag carrier launched the flight on 25 March – the first time any airline has offered a direct route from Australia to Europe.

Qantas operates the route using a Boeing 787-9 with 42 business-class seats, 28 in premium economy, and 166 in economy. Speaking to the Aviation Club luncheon on 27 March, Joyce said that configuration was key to the viability of the service, which he claims is 3h faster than going through a hub. However, fares are considerably higher than those offered on the route by competitors based in the Gulf or Southeast Asia.

"You will always get a premium on a direct flight, but the real benefit of the economics is that rich mix [of product]," he says. "If we fill premium, then the yield is superb. Our forward bookings for the next month mean we are 90% full on premium. From day one, this service is making money."

Source: Cirium Dashboard