Blainey Woodham

Qantas non-stop to London flights go on sale today

It's the flight Aussies have been waiting to book.

Qantas' direct Perth-London route goes on sale today, initially priced from $2270 for a return economy fare.

Industry insiders tip fares could eventually fall below $2000 during sales.

Travellers seeking greater comfort during the marathon flight will pay $4250 for a Premium Economy seat or $9725 in Business Class.

The 18-hour service will become the world's longest non-stop Boeing 787 flight, and is billed a game-changer for the airline - and the Australian tourism industry.

The flights are on sale from noon (AEST) today.

Qantas will use a Boeing 787-9 for the route, which will launch on March 24, 2018.

Departing Perth at 6.50pm, the flight arrives at London's Heathrow Airport at 5.10am the next day.

The return flight departs London at 1.30pm, landing at Perth the next day at 1.15pm.

The fare announcement coincides with the revelation Melbourne residents will lose their Qantas A380 service to London via Dubai with the aircraft redeployed to Asia for seasonal peak periods.

It will be replaced with the 787-9 service to London via Perth, in a move that will reduce the length of the trip by 90 minutes.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has said the history-making Perth-London route would be a watershed for travel, tourism and trade.

"When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops. Now it will take just 17 hours from Perth non-stop," Mr Joyce said last year.

"This is a game-changing route flown by a game-changing aircraft, Qantas's new 787-9. "Australians have never had a direct link to Europe before, so the opportunities this opens up are huge."

He said the service would also make travelling to Australia a "much more attractive proposition to millions of people".

"We expect many travellers from Europe will start their time in Australia with a visit to Perth before going on to see other parts of the country," Mr Joyce said.

"Our modelling shows that people from the East Coast as well as South Australia would fly domestically to Perth to connect to our non-stop London service."

Australian Business Traveller editor David Flynn said at first glance the fares seemed "fairly pricey".

"There's clearly a premium to be paid for flying non-stop, or even taking the Boeing 787 all the way from Melbourne to London via Perth," said Mr Flynn.

"Those fares will become more competitive during sale periods, but not everybody will want to spend 17-plus hours in the air. For many travellers, a stop-over won't just be a matter of economics but sanity."

A 32-inch seat pitch in economy will provide passengers with an inch of extra wriggle room during the flight which shaves three hours off current travel time to London.

News Corp Australia


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