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First direct route between Australia and UK

Qantas flies non-stop between Perth and London Heathrow – but is it the world’s longest?

Qantas has flown the first scheduled direct flight between Australia and the UK, and back again. Flight QF9 completed its 14,498 kilometre trip from Perth to London Heathrow in just over 17 hours, the BBC reports.

It is part of the airline’s plans to operate ultra-long-haul flights. Its chief executive, Alan Joyce, called the new service a “game-changing route” at an event ahead of the inaugural flight.

Western Australia is hoping to see a boost to its tourist numbers as a result.

The ‘kangaroo route’ between Australia and the UK used to take four days and seven stops back in the early 1950s. Now, on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with more than 200 passengers and 16 crew, it takes less than a day.

Qantas is also looking at launching routes between cities in Australia’s east coast, such as Sydney, and both London and New York by 2022.

One passenger, Michael Smith, a pilot and author who was a passenger on the flight, told the BBC that the new route removes laboriously having to change planes and disturb sleep.

To minimise discomfort, the plane has features such as improved air quality and lower cabin noise. A couple who make the journey once a year said their trip “flew by”.

World’s longest?
Perth-London is now about three hours faster than routes that have stops in the Middle East. But it is not the world’s longest flight. That is currently held by Qatar Airways from Doha to Auckland, which stretches 14,529 kilometres.

The record, though, is held by Singapore Airlines, travelling more than 15,300 kilometres between Singapore and New York – a direct route that stopped in 2013.

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