Qantas has announced the first non-stop commercial flight from Perth to London that will commence from March 2018. While Qantas’ new non-stop route is good news for those who enjoy a long-haul flight, it could have its shortcomings. So, what’s wrong with the big red roo leaping to London in one hop?
Qantas’ brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, expected to touch down in Australia sometime in October next year, will take around 17 hours to complete the 14,498km-long hop to London.
While the new route will no doubt be a blessing for Perth’s tourism industry and its economy, the long-haul flight could come with its share of shortcomings.
Although prices won’t be revealed before April 2017, when the first seats go on sale, one aviation expert believes that due to the high cost of the fuel needed to make the journey, passengers will pay up to 40 per cent more for an airfare to the Big Smoke.
“I would be imagining an economy fare on a direct flight would be around the $2000 mark compared to $1200 to $1500 that you can get at most other times,” said FlightGlobal’s Ellis Taylor.
Mr Ellis thinks the extra cost will make it difficult for Qantas to fill seats.
“I think it could be tough for Qantas to make it viable in the long term, but it could find its way in the market,” he said.
A one-stop journey to London from Melbourne takes around 23 hours, or 24 hours from Sydney. A flight from Melbourne to Perth takes over four hours or five hours from Sydney. So, anyone travelling from the eastern states of Australia will see little reduction in flight times.
Perhaps the most worrying concern is the Dreamliner’s range. The distance between Perth and London is 14,498km. The 787-9 has a range of 15,400km, leaving a ‘safety buffer’ of only around 900km.
Should the unexpected happen and the plane is not able to land at Heathrow, it could easily be diverted to another airfield close by. But if for some reason it was not able to land at Perth, the closest airfield is almost 1110km away, outside of its operational range.
Perth is rarely shut down, but if it were, things could get a bit ‘airy.
Read more at traveller.com.au
What do you think of the new route? Would you be prepared to sit on a flight for 17 hours?