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First non-stop Australia - UK flight arrives in London

27 March 2018, 05:25 | Melanie Burgess

The coffee bar at the Qantas

The coffee bar at the Qantas lounge

After a seventeen-hour, 9,009-mile journey in the skies, the maiden flight of a new regular passenger services between Australia and Britain touched down at Heathrow, reports USA Today.

Qantas 9 (QF9) landed at Heathrow's Terminal 3 just after 5am, just over 17 hours after departing from Perth on Australia's west coast.

"Being able to connect the major financial centres directly is going to be the main theme that is going to drive the success of these flights", said Richard Johnson, Carlson Wagonlit Travel's director of its solutions group for Asia Pacific.

It is part of ambitious plans by Qantas to add ultra long-haul flights to its schedules.

"The original Kangaroo Route from Australia to London was named for the seven stops it made over four days back in 1947".

The airline is using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which is twice as fuel-efficient as the Boeing 747.

"And we're getting close", Mr Joyce told reporters in Perth on Saturday.

Singapore Airlines Ltd expects to revive the world's longest non-stop commercial flight, from Singapore to NY, in the second half of this year after a five-year hiatus due to the new aircraft technology and lower fuel prices.

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If both can manage the range, Qantas will call for tenders next year and place an order, with the aircraft likely to be ready by 2022.

Its head of aviation, Justin Penny, said: "Flight Centre definitely feels that long-term the new route is viable and we will see additional services being launched from Europe to Australia in the coming years".

But travellers from London to Melbourne and vice versa are allowed one free stopover in Perth.

Previously, travellers had to take the short but fiddly trip from the domestic airport to the separate worldwide terminal.

The flight has improved air quality and lower cabin noise to make the gruelling journey more bearable. Qantas' CEO Alan Joyce says the airline has combatted this by putting "hands-down the most comfortable aircraft that Qantas has ever put in the sky".

Early experience with the 787 has also validated Qantas's approach of collaborating with industry partners in designing and delivering its 787 passenger experience.

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.

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