Qantas' new globe-spanning flight squeezes 12 days Into 17 hours

By Bloomberg News, March 23 2018
Qantas' new globe-spanning flight squeezes 12 days Into 17 hours

Flying from Australia to London in 1935 took 12½ days. Passing a major aviation milestone on Saturday, Qantas. will do it in 17 hours.

The 14,498km flight from Perth, one of the world’s most isolated cities, marks the first direct passenger service between the continents. It puts Europe’s financial center one night’s sleep from the capital of Australia’s mineral wealth and the operations of hundreds of resources companies including BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto – both listed in Australia and the U.K.

For Qantas, the Perth connection is a high-profile test for a planned ultra long-haul network that the airline hopes will span the world by 2022. To succeed, the route must defy the boom-and-bust commodities cycle that has preyed on Western Australia.

And Qantas needs business travelers to pay up for the shorter, one-hop flight to London rather than make a stop in Asia or the Middle East.

“They’re targeting the business community that wants a seamless journey,” said Rico Merkert, professor of transport and supply-chain management at the University of Sydney’s business school. “It will be a game changer for the resources sector.”

Mining companies in Western Australia dig up more than a third of the world’s iron-ore and bring in some of the largest hauls of gems and rare earths.

Across Australia, the sector employs almost a quarter of a million workers. It also supports financial-services firms such as Hartleys, whose Perth-based director of corporate finance Steve Kite is booked on Sunday’s flight to London for just a four-day trip.

“It’s effectively an overnight flight for me and that feels like I’m saving a lot of time,” said Kite.

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 787 Dreamliner and stacking it with top-tier passengers.

Almost one third of the 236 seats on the aircraft are in business or premium-economy class. That compares with less than a quarter on the airline’s Airbus SE A380 super jumbo to London from Singapore.

‘PR stunt’

Not everyone is convinced of the route’s commercial future.

Aircraft leaving Perth for London will need feeder passengers from around Australia, said Volodymyr Bilotkach, senior lecturer in economics at Newcastle University in the U.K. and author of the book The Economics of Airlines.

But flying from Sydney to London via Perth saves little time over a transfer in Asia or the Gulf. And for travelers heading from Perth to continental Europe, a connection in the Middle East would be more convenient, he said.

“The Perth-London service looks more like a PR stunt than a network-building tool,” Bilotkach said in an email.

Andrew McGinnes, a spokesman for Qantas in Sydney, said bookings on the new route “have been strong” and corporate clients in eastern Australia have indicated they’ll stop in Perth for meetings on their way to London. “It’s a very competitive market but this is a unique flight,” McGinnes said.

An analysis of flight times and prices highlights the challenges Qantas faces.

Flying business class from Perth to London with Qantas in mid-June would cost A$6,614. Opting for Singapore Airlines via Singapore would take an extra 2 1/2 hours but cost just A$4,843, according to fares on Webjet.

Still, the Perth-London route will deliver a “significant boost” to Western Australia’s A$191 billion economy, said Chris Rodwell, chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Rodwell expects “substantial investment” in travel, trade and infrastructure from the new service.

Qantas has challenged Boeing and Airbus to build a jet by 2022 that can fly fully loaded from Sydney to London without a break. Success on the Perth-London service would lay the foundations for even longer routes to Europe.

“It’s really just the beginning,” said Merkert at the University of Sydney.

NZ

16 Oct 2015

Total posts 10

Excellent move to capture the xenophobic constituency. Every country has one and they will love avoiding both Asia and the Middle East.

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 119

Excellent news. This will be supported well from Perth. A city with half the population of SYD and MEL now properly connected with Europe with an aircraft with 50% of the capacity of an Qantas A380 which serves those cities...

08 Jul 2015

Total posts 10

How crazy that passengers connecting from other hubs won’t have access to this lounge!!

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 587

Doesn’t really interest myself until it’s a direct flight from the East Coast

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 119

And east coast means...wait for it...Sydney?

15 Feb 2018

Total posts 46

I wish Qantas well with direct flights from Australia to LHR, and when they introduce more European ports. Can’t wait to fly it myself, as it avoids the extra security check in Singapore.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

Qantas needs to revise their 787 premium economy.

Hopefully this is the beginning of Perth sooner rather than later becoming a mini hub into Europe.

05 May 2016

Total posts 618

It will be interesting to see if using Perth as a mini hub lasts once direct flights from the East Coast begin.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

Maybe not to the UK, but definitely into other european destinations such as Paris, Frankfurt and maybe Rome and Athens?

15 Sep 2012

Total posts 92

Doe anybody know the route the aircraft will be flying tomorrow? Over India or Middle East?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Mar 2018

Total posts 15

Near Singapore, then over India.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1256

Looking at the flight tracker it seems Sri Lanka then Iraq/Iran then Eastern Europe. Some said Irans overflight charges were high but maybe QF got a good deal.

Qantas

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 9

So Perth to Singapore passengers will have to clear International immigration and security checks and then no access to a Qantas Club. So what use is a domestic Qantas Club to them. Once again Perth is just not considered.

Flying Perth to Singapore, Qantas Club members will have access to the Qantas domestic business class lounge (yes, the business lounge, not the Qantas Club), prior to passport control in Perth, so guests can relax there before their flight, and just leave a little early to get through to their international gate.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

ground breaking and best of luck.watching on getaway in 1997 the first fifty years of the kangaroo route put things into perspective.back then it was a one stop via bangkok or singapore to london and the overall travel time was equal to this new via perth flight.i wonder what prices will be like for the average man in economy and is it really worth it over say a cheaper qatar/emirates/singapore airlines flight.

29 Mar 2014

Total posts 81

Honestly, I think Perth airport, or the WA gov't, is giving serious financial incentives (tax breaks etc) for QF to fly the route via Perth.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2014

Total posts 6

Its just too much of a price variance vs a short stop over in Asia or Middle East - I have noticed that Emirates have since reduced BC fares Aus - London.


Other than mining operators I can't see there being a huge uptake on these fares as the variance is significant for the services industry and those organisations that have post-boom tighter cost control policies in place.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

the price gap over say the much superior singapore airlines products is a lot to ask for.i am from adelaide and would rather at the present time get the a330 or whatever they plan to put up to singapore in the future and connect onto the a380 to london even with an eight hour transit time.if i can get a six hour block at a transit hotel with a percentage of that for gym,sleep and a shower before flying onwards that for price reasons would be my first choice or alternatively get a a350/787 combo via doha on qatar airways leaving out of my home state in the evening around 10pm given i would be travelling in the summer months to what is their winter.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1256

It seems the have two captains a first officer and a second officer on the flight deck. I suspect after the flight is settled in after a couple of months they will swap a captain for a second officer to save some pennies. But having senior staff on the flight deck for the whole flight makes sense.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

From Australia's east coast, the QF fares on this QF9 (Y class) are almost double what some good Asian airlines are charging for a return fare to LHR. Not worth it, especially when the Asian airlines only take a couple of hours longer each way in some cases.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1256

I find the QF website shows much the same fares whichever way you go so ti is not the Perth stopover it is the preference that QF has with tis passengers . Also make sure like is compared with like sale fares with sale fares flex with flex etc. The fact that there are no sale fares now indicates strong demand. If you look at November this year there are sale fares in QF9. The time of year preferences for seperate airlines has a lot to do with it and SQ and CX have over capacity poor profit levels so have to discount.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

I was looking ages ago prior to booking my Qatar flights to Europe at SQ fares and much to my horror missed out on some bargains going on in January.the price went up by $520 the week of the flight centre expo in february.i wonder how they have coped profit wise against the middle eastern competition and one stop services to a lot of places they require one to change planes at their local carriers hub.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

business travellers aside.who would choose this over say a QATAR,EMIRATES,SINGAPORE AIRLINES OR EVEN QANTAS OWN FLIGHTS TO SINGAPORE TO LINK UP WITH THE QF1.it is not just price anymore but scheduling flexibility and everything else.I have done the Australia to London flights on SQ yet was able at the other end was able to go exploring and do sightseeing as a leisure traveller some years back now.so what the travel time these days as ex ADL the flight to SIN has been retimed greatly for Asian onward connections but poorly for European ones I would rather for less money pay for the use of a day room 6 hours the minute i get in through to say 9pm and then walk around the terminal before heading onwards or my other choice for such a trip would be work the full day get home get ready and go on QATAR OR EMIRATES late night flights via DOHA OR DUBAI and get to the UK around lunchtime.

13 Nov 2015

Total posts 51

I'd rather fly east coast via SIN or DXB, DOH to break up the flight into manageable flight segments.17 hours in one sitting for me is way too long, even in a F or J seat. Hope they have a doctor on board. That or a gym. I don't see this route lasting, not enough demand in Perth - while the east coast set will continue to opt for the current routings w/one stop.

30 Aug 2017

Total posts 36

So you think Australian's have less endurance than Kiwis? Qatar's flight between AKL and DOH is the longest and it has been there for more than a year. They have no issues.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

tradition tells us the one stop via SIN,KUL,HKG makes more sense.I have had a look at the Qatar Airways ex ADL TO LHR timings out of interest both ways as well and it's not all that much longer.on the way over you leave in the evening a few hours later than the via perth QF OPTIONS but get there at lunchtime the following day but coming home if you get the 0800 via Doha homebound and a great connection you are back in Australia late afternoon a day later.

15 Feb 2018

Total posts 46

There seem to be many on here who criticise Qantas for flying non stop. No one is asking such people to fly the route. They still have the option of flying with a stopover. Personally, I think it is great to fly direct from Australia to wherever, without a stop.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1263

Well said. No one is being forced to fly this route, lots of options out there.


Qantas only needs 200 odd people a day to fly PER to LHR. Some will come from PER, some will connect through PER...

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 112

lots if one cares to look.22-23 hours or thereabouts with a good connection ex Adelaide based on the summer months and about the same home so very close in travel time to the old nonstops THEY HAD TO SINGAPORE EX ADL on the 767 later A330 to connect to the old QF9 which is the present day QF1 to continue to london


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas' new globe-spanning flight squeezes 12 days Into 17 hours