Qantas’ maiden nonstop voyage between Australia’s Perth and London landed Sunday morning after traveling some 8,000 nm and spending more than 17 hours in the air.
The route, the longest one offered by Qantas and the only nonstop route between the two cities, is the third-longest commercial flight currently offered behind one between Doha, Qatar; and Auckland, New Zealand, and one between San Francisco and Singapore, both of which fall between 17 and 18 hours flying time.
It is the longest on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, whose capacity and range make the route, dubbed QF9, possible and realistic for the Australian airline.
“This is the flight that Qantas has essentially waited most of its 98 years to take,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
The company still had some time on its deadline: Qantas co-founder Hudson Fysh predicted in 1931 that such a trip would be happening within a century.
From the reduced air pressure in the Boeing Dreamliner’s cabin to Qantas’ menu, the company said everything is designed to promote passenger comfort and reduce jetlag on what could be a taxing trip. Four pilots fly the route with one or two resting at any given time.
Qantas chose its newest Dreamliner, named Emily, to operate the inaugural service, which features a livery based on the artwork Yam Dreaming by indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
With the first flight in the books, Qantas customers can choose from three routes between Australia and London: direct Perth-London service on the Dreamliner; a reinstated Sydney-Singapore-London service on the A380; and from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth to London through Dubai with partner Emirates on a mix of A380 and 777 aircraft.