Aviation Perth in line for non-stop flight service to London

Qantas Boeing 787-9
Photo of Geoffrey Thomas

Qantas is looking to make Perth a hub for non-stop flights to the UK, drawing traffic from Adelaide and possibly Melbourne.

Qantas will soon enter into discussions with the State Government and Perth Airport on support packages and infrastructure needs for its planned London non-stop service from 2018.

But Perth faces stiff competition for the Qantas 787.

Speaking to The West Australian at the International Air Transport Association annual meeting in Dublin, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline was also “looking at Sydney-Chicago and Melbourne-Dallas” as the initial routes for the 787.

Sydney and Melbourne airports and their respective State governments have proved aggressive competitors in seeking new airlines and routes to bolster tourism and business.

Qantas is looking to make Perth a hub for non-stop flights to London, drawing traffic from Adelaide and possibly Melbourne with a tight turnaround in Perth.

If Perth misses out on the initial routes, a route from the city to London may not happen until 2022.

The Qantas 787 will have three cabins — business, premium economy and economy.

Qantas International chief executive Gareth Evans said the 787 would be “very much a premium aircraft” for long routes.

The 787 is perfect for ultra-long-range routes because it has lower cabin altitude, which eliminates altitude sickness, higher humidity to reduce dehydration, lower noise and a turbulence reduction system that reduces bumps by 70 per cent.

Qantas is due to take delivery of its first of eight 787s late next year and has more than 30 options.

Yesterday, Etihad Airways introduced the state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to its daily Perth to Abu Dhabi service. Its 787-9 features the airline’s next-generation business and economy-class cabins.

With 299 seats, it has 14 per cent more capacity than the Airbus A330-200 it replaces and in the high-demand business class cabin, it has 27 per cent more seats. Etihad Airways’ Shane O’Hare said the decision to upgrade to the 787 reflected the importance of WA to the airline.

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