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First nonstop Australia to London flight touches down
27 March 2018, 05:25 | Gordon Grant
Qantas Philip Capps and David Caon
The first group of travellers to fly non-stop to Perth from London have arrived in the West Australian capital looking more refreshed than usual after a long-haul journey.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, operated by Qantas Airways, made history as the first of many regularly scheduled flights to and from the continents.
Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce is betting he can make money from the daily service to London by stripping excess weight from a Boeing Co.
Speaking ahead of the debut flight, he said the earliest Qantas routes between Australia and the United Kingdom - known as the "kangaroo route" - had taken four days and involved seven stops. "Now we can do it in a single leap", Joyce said.
"The response to the flight has been incredible, both for the attention it's received since we announced it and the bookings we've seen coming in".
QF9 is operated by four pilots across the journey, with one or two pilots resting at any one time.
Qantas's 787-9 Dreamliner has a total of 236 seats including 42 of the airline's latest business class lie-flats in a 1-2-1 configuration so every passenger has direct-aisle access. This flight will travel at around 900 kilometers per hour and use 20 percent less fuel than similarly sized aircraft.
"It has more business class and premium economy seats than we've ever put on an aircraft and we're filling them", Mr Joyce said.
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. Qantas has adjusted the timing of some domestic services into Perth so that passengers from Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane can join the flight to London.
In a Twitter post, Qantas said the flight was led by Captain Lisa Norman, Captain Jeff Foote, First Officer Dave Summergreene and Second Officer Troy Lane.
The new Qantas service is part of the airline's plans to eventually connect Europe with airports on Australia's east coast.
It also has a customised menu to help travellers cope with jetlag, including a bedtime drink of hot chocolate.
In 1947 a one-way flight between Australia and London would cost the equivalent of $35,000 in today's currency and carried 29 passengers.
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