Historic Perth-London flight opens 'new era of travel'

Qantas Philip Capps and David Caon

The new 14,498km route from the West Australian capital to London on Qantas' new 787-9 Dreamliner will take about 17 hours, shaving several hours off the journey for those departing Perth.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has called the inaugural flight a "gamechanger". Doha to Auckland with Qatar Airlines and LA to Singapore are longer, at 18 hours and 20 minutes and 17 hours, 55 minutes respectively.

The flight is 24 per cent further than the UK's previous longest route, operated by Garuda Indonesia between Heathrow and Jakarta, and was a measly 7,275 miles in comparison.

Ground staff greet QF9 at Heathrow airport, London, after its history-making 17-hour flight from Perth.

After 17 hours in the air, almost 90 minutes less than the world's longest, the inaugural non-stop flight from Perth to Heathrow and back has touched down.

"Now we can do it in a single leap".

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the direct flight would change the way people travel between Europe and Australia.

It's the first time Europe and Australia have been connected with a direct commercial flight.

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"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", Joyce said when presented with the award.

"The response to the flight has been fantastic, both for the attention it's received since we announced it and the bookings we've seen coming in".

For travellers heading to Perth from Melbourne, however, the total time saved for the journey to Heathrow is only about one hour.

Among the jet-lag-fighting features are the seats, designed with more space, better pressurization and humidity, technology to reduce turbulence, and windows that are up to 65-percent larger than those on conventional aircraft.

Andrew McGinnes, a spokesman for Qantas in Sydney, said bookings on the new route "have been strong" and corporate clients in eastern Australia have indicated they'll stop in Perth for meetings on their way to London.

The launch of the flights is a significant moment for the airline industry since it can have a significant impact on the preferences of passengers.

The service was suspended to cut costs, however the airline says there are plans to reopen the route, using the ultra-long range version of the Airbus A350.

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