Qantas: non-stop Australia-Europe Boeing 787 flights set to soar

By David Flynn, October 28 2016

Non-stop flights between Australia and Europe are firming up as among the first of the ultra-long range routes for Qantas' Boeing 787, due to be announced from early 2017.

The Dreamliner's long reach and fuel efficiency, coupled with a relatively low headcount in Qantas' chosen configuration of just 236 passengers, has already seen extended US routes such as Sydney to Chicago, Melbourne to Dallas and Brisbane to Dallas being pencilled in on the network map.

But opening up Europe to direct Dreamliner flights from Australia – and especially Perth to London – is the real prize.

Speaking on the sidelines of this week's reveal of the airline's Boeing 787 business class and economy seats, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the advanced jet would be a "game-changer" for the Qantas international network.

"Australia has never been connected to Europe with a regular (non-stop) passenger service" Joyce reflected.

"When you think of it, they're the only two continents on the globe which do not have regular direct services – apart from Antarctica, which doesn't have a lot of airports!" he adds with the humour that's become more evident since Qantas bounced back from a swelling tide of red ink to a billion-dollar profit. "So that will be something we are looking forward to."

Fly direct on the Dreamliner

Qantas' passengers must currently break their journey at the Dubai hub of partner Emirates in order to continue to London on the airline's double daily A380 superjumbo services or change to an Emirates flight to European cities.

Direct flights on the red-tailed Dreamliner would provide travellers with the option to skip that stop-over, provided they didn't mind as much as 18 hours spent sitting in a flying tube.

However, conditions on the route would mean that Qantas wouldn't always be able to fill all 236 seats in order to reduce weight and thus boost fuel efficiency and range.

"We've modelled all of the routes, we know what the loads can be and we know the restrictions on some parts of the year," Joyce explains.

"As you can imagine, sometimes the winds are heavy – like on our Sydney-Dallas service, where some parts of the year we can't take a full load. That's fine because the (Boeing 787) economics work superbly across the entire year."

Qantas' new flagship route

Perth to London would become a new flagship route for Qantas, which is in discussions with Perth Airport alongside state and federal government, "and we hope to get to conclusions on that soon," Joyce says.

While Joyce wouldn't be drawn further on specifics of the discussions, it's believed that the plans would see international gates and customs posts set up at Qantas' domestic terminal in Perth in order to provide a seamless connection into the airline's Australian network.

London-bound passengers would fly west from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide on regular Qantas domestic services, possibly freshen up at the domestic Qantas lounges and then go through to an 'international zone' in the terminal to board the Boeing 787-9.

Inbound travellers, especially Brits, would be encouraged to break their journey in Perth and sample the WA capital – and it's superb Margaret River wineries – before continuing onto the east coast.

Joyce says he is "absolutely hopeful" of a green light for the proposal, "because it's such a great opportunity for Western Australia... it would be a shame if we couldn’t close a deal."

Get the details on

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 328

This could be a real boost for the WA economy coming off the back of the mining boom....

10 Nov 2014

Total posts 7

Why is this taken so seriously? Perth London/ Anywhere in Europe is simply unsustainable. Best to increase the load in to Asia where capacity is under delivered. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 132

But Euro flights have generally been better yielding than flights into Asia. 
AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 521

They may well have better yield but think the point the poster was making is 789 flights PER to LHR would only be possible by limiting the load. You need a lot of premium yield to counter not being able to fill the aircraft or the belly.

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 113

Stop the speculation on the dreamliner being capable of flying nonstop to Paris and Rome, its impossible!!! it lacks the range, a 777-8 or a A350ULR are required 
LP
LP

30 Jun 2016

Total posts 45

syd-cdg @ 17,000 km. Longest range 789 @ 15,700km. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

I saw this on Australian Aviation : 'Boeing lists the 787-9 as having a range of 7,635nm when carrying 290 passengers in a two-class configuration, while a Qantas fact sheet released on Thursday promotes a range of 14,400km

04 Dec 2012

Total posts 12

Talking about Australia to Europe is being cheeky when it really means Perth to Europe.  As an east coaster I would prefer to change planes in Dubai or Abu Dhabi and have a choice of dozens of different European destinations from there.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2016

Total posts 9

Yuh, but Perth is in Australia, agree with the rest though.
FLX
FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

@Ewan K:

"Talking about Australia to Europe is being cheeky...I would prefer to change planes in Dubai or Abu Dhabi and have a choice of dozens of different European destinations from there".


But isn't that the beauty of the overall QF network strategy?  Some prefer connection @ DXB with QF or EK while others prefer nonstop or connect fm PER with QF all the way....covering all the bases re customer choice/preference.

IMHO, AJ is embarking on a smart strategy:  Focus QF resources on its strengths and leverage partner on QF's weaknesses. 

08 Apr 2011

Total posts 25

Considering Qantas have only just put international flights back on from Perth, I'd be really surprised if this is a goer. Like a very fast rail line MEL-SYD, it's often talked about, but the sums never add up.
Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

Bring on all those non-stop flights from Australia to Europe please. I like the idea of choice between going Sydney to Perth to London, or via Dubai. Would certainly like to try the Perth option for a change.
It sure beats flying through DXB! Sign me up! But QF PER International lounge needs major spruiking up!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

Yup.  You won't get thrown in jail for activating a VPN in Perth, either.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Nov 2014

Total posts 34

News flash! Perth is in fact a part of Australia! I think it is awesome news and look forward to a stop over in Perth before heading to London.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

I'd much rather Perth to Dubai and look forward to more east coast expansion options with the 777x or (hopefully) A350. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 132

If we are talking long legs, the 777x or 359 (ULR) would be the beasts to have. I certainly can see QF taking the A350 is CASA pull their fingers out for ETOPS 370 as a 744 replacement to Joburg.

19 Jun 2014

Total posts 32

This Perth - London route only works for some people. For some Europe traveller like me, I would start my Europe trip from a European city and leave Europe in another European city. E.g. arrive in Rome and depart from London etc. Cathay, Singapore, Emirates allow me do this. Would Qantas fly to all these European cities from Perth?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 185

I can see some amazing potential here....this could mean a new Perth International lounge, similar to Brisbane...and let's face it you cannot simply base aircraft in perth without cycling them back to the fleet base which one assumes will be East Coast.  Imagine an international departure from Sydney late afternoon followed by a late evening departure from Perth to London. Could be a very attractive proposition.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 84

No, no, no, stop this "direct to europe" talk! melbourne-dfw has the advantage of avoiding the two worst airports for flights to the US.

Yes, before you ask, it is all about me!

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 125

Just because something is possible doesn't mean it's practical.  No one's going to take SYD-PER-LHR on a 789 over SYD-DXB-LHR on an A380 in Y.  The route would have to survive on premium traffic, for which there is a ridiculous amount of competition (and hence lower yields).  North American routes are sheltered from competition and thus command higher fares, so the revenue on a SYD-ORD (for example) would cover the cost of carrying all that extra fuel just to carry the fuel.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 445

Arcanum this is not designed for Sydney folk it is designed for Perth (non-stop); and Canberra and Adelaide folk (one stop) who now have to do two stops if (the Adeladie) people want to be on QANTAS metal. The Canberra international set up is small and cosy, and a similar set up would work perfectly in Perth domestic. Note there is enough from these three cities to find 235 seats a day, plus those who really don't like the Dubai transfer.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Oct 2016

Total posts 4

I would think the J and Y+ products on the 787 would be very attractive for both East/West coast travellers to LHR/Europe. And then I'm sure there are at least 160 Y passengers from PER/ADL/CBR etc.. and any East coasters wanting to avoid DXB for viable daily flights.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 99

Totally agree Arcanum, who'd want to do 17 hrs in economy in a 17.4 inch wide seat? Certainly not me.  Whether in business or economy, I'd rather break my journey closer to a mid point (Singapore or Dubai would work).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Oct 2015

Total posts 5

Why would anyone want to start or end their international journey with a 4-5hr domestic leg, potentially in a 737? I know that I would prefer 2 international legs, with international product and service on each

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 97

So book an A330 flight from east to west           

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Feb 2013

Total posts 14

From a UK tourist point of view think LHR to PER is a winner and bold thinking. Like Qantas but don't like DXB. Would even put up with LHR transfer to head to Oz this way!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Dec 2015

Total posts 22

Typo? Shouldn't "they're" be "there are"?

19 May 2016

Total posts 14

No Peter. "... they're the only two continents on the globe" is correct.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 445

Luke we are talking three legs from Canberra (or Adelaide) 1hr plus bus, then 14, then 7. A 4hr leg then no bus then a 15-16hr to me is much better. I may be an odd person out but I prefer Dallas in the US over LA because of a long leg followed by a 3hr short leg even in a 737/a320 to me is better.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

I would prefer an A380 and, with fill choice, a Singapore stopover(!) but commenxung direct Europe flights on a low pax capacity and comfortable plane (air pressure etc wise) from a capital previously neglected by Qantas makes a lot of sense! Then hopefully east coast A350 direct flights!

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 65

Why not go from Darwin, half the east coast flight fly near there anyway? You could pick up all the feeder traffic. It adds to the tourism element for NT as I am assuming QF is trying to squeeze WA for some $ to do this.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

Have you been to Darwin airport? That might answer your question. The expansion necessary would be mammoth. The runway alone would probably require strengthening. Plus, Darwin isn't as popular a starting point for tourists.
DRW
DRW

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Apr 2014

Total posts 19

Um...not sure what you're talking about...Darwin airport runway has been used by all types of aircraft over the years including the Antonov. I think ajstubbs is spot on. It would be around 17 hours for a DRW-LHR flight. Most people I have met on the east coast have Darwin on their bucket list.
DRW
DRW

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Apr 2014

Total posts 19

I meant romaau.

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 152

If the Perth-London flights go ahead, the timings will be interesting. They may even time the flights out of Perth to pickup passengers coming direct from Auckland. I'm still very surprised that these flights are still being considered though - I thought QF had given up on Perth.
Hope the Govt of Perth doesn't put a dime in...  If Qantas want to waste money upgrading the domestic terminal which isn't meant have a long life span, and pay for the feds to supply border services, so be it...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2014

Total posts 52

As a WP who usually doesn't fly any higher than PE, I'd certainly prefer the current SYD-DXB-LHR route. I get to enjoy the QF and then EK Flounges and have multiple options from DXB to fly directly to European cities other than LHR. Each to their own I guess.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 445

Paul the Perth option is not for Sydneysiders it is for us poor folk in Canberra, Adelaide and Perth. But I suspect they will also have a (5-6 day a week) Perth-Paris as well (as Perth Singapore) to keep the international gates a little more busy; and that Paris option may suit Sydney (and Melb) siders who don't like the plane change in Dubai, which usually involves sitting around for a few hours.

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 94

might be palatable if the 787s operate the east-west coast sectors all the way though  - limiting the passenger load would help offset the squeezy economy seats for higher status QFFs presumably receiving empty seats next to them

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Nov 2014

Total posts 34

Why would the 787's need to fly the East - West route when they have A330's? Only thing you would be missing out on is PE.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 405

For QF to operate 787s on PER-LHR, they would need to rotate aircraft through the maintenance base.  This requires either PER or LHR to some domestic destination, so PER-SYD is most likely.  Crewing considerations may also support a PER-SYD leg.  If a consequence was PE being offered PER-SYD, then that would welcomed by many in PER, particularly if it could be used to connect to ex-SYD services.

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