A non-stop flight between the UK and Australia has “exceeded expectations” one year on from its historic launch.
Qantas’ service between the city of Perth, on the west coast of Australia, and London Heathrow became the UK’s longest non-stop regular passenger flight when it was launched in March last year.
Despite the mammoth 17-hour journey, the airline says nearly every flight over the past year has been full, with the service turning a profit “almost immediately”.
“There were a lot of expectations around this flight, both within Qantas and the broader community, and frankly it’s exceeded them,” said Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.
“The work we put into managing passenger jet lag and designing a comfortable cabin has paid off. It’s the longest flight on our entire network but it has the highest level of customer satisfaction.”
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service covers 9,009 miles, which is 24% further than the UK’s previous longest route, operated by Garuda Indonesia between Heathrow and Jakarta (7,275 miles).
During its first 12 months in operation, the link has carried 155,000 passengers, with flights 94% full on average, compared to the industry average of 80%.
The average flight time from Perth to London was 17 hours and one minute – but its fastest journey clocked in at 16 hours and 19 minutes.
Going in the other direction, the fastest journey was just 15 hours and 15 minutes.
“We didn’t plan to regularly break speed records in both directions,” said Mr Joyce. “The current title holder arrived into Perth from London a full hour ahead of schedule thanks to prevailing winds and our new flight planning system.”
Just under 60% of passengers on the London-Perth leg are from Australia, with UK residents making up the majority of overseas passengers at 31%, while the route has been heralded for boosting tourism in Western Australia.
The airline has also given an insight into the habits of its passengers, with Mission Impossible: Fallout named as the most-watched film on the route.
The most popular meals for customers in business class were barramundi and beef and Yorkshire pudding, with a glass of red wine, while white wine was the top choice in economy, alongside Guinness beef pie with potato mash.
Qantas is working on Project Sunrise, which could see the first direct flights from Sydney to London.