Image: Qantas

The first commercial non-stop flight from Australia to the UK landed in London early on Sunday morning. The flight landed ahead of schedule after travelling the 14,498 km route from Perth to London in 17 hours and 6 minutes.

The aircraft that Qantas chose for this inaugural flight was its newest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner called ‘Emily’. Qantas reports that the aircraft burns approximately 20 percent less fuel than other aircraft of its size. The Dreamliner (pictured above) also features a livery by Balarinji, which is based on artwork by Indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, said: “This is a truly historic flight that opens up a new era of travel. For the first time, Australia and Europe have a direct air link. The original Kangaroo Route from Australia to London was named for the seven stops it made over four days back in 1947. Now we can do it in one leap.”

Commenting on the changes Qantas has made to the Dreamliner’s cabin in preparation for this service, Joyce added: “This is hands down the most comfortable aircraft that Qantas has ever put in the sky. Boeing designed the Dreamliner with features to reduce jet lag, turbulence and noise. We’ve taken that a step further with our cabin design, giving passengers more space in every class as well as bigger entertainment screens and more personal storage.”

Qantas has worked with the University of Sydney to decide what food to offer and when to serve it so as to encourage sleep and reduce the impact of jet lag. They also measured the sleep, physical activity and posture of 10 of the passengers on board the inaugural flight. The cabin pressure was set to the equivalent of an altitude of 6,000 ft as opposed to the usual 8,000 ft, and responsive cabin lighting was implemented to try and improve passenger comfort.

The flight left Perth at 6.57pm local time with four pilots, a dozen crew, Joyce, the Australian trade and tourism minister Steve Ciobo, and journalists joining fare-paying passengers onboard to be part of a historic moment.

Qantas hopes that this route encourages more British tourists to visit Western Australia and envisions a London to Sydney route made available in the future.

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