By Alex Robertson

Aviation history has been made with the landing of the first scheduled flight to link Australia and Britain.

QF9 has landed at London's Heathrow Airport after a 17-hour-and-five-minute flight from Perth.

The Boeing 787-9 landed just after 5pm, after covering a distance of 14,525km.


It touched down about 15 minutes early.

It was carrying more than 200 passengers and 16 crew and is the longerst Dreamliner flight and among the longest flights by any aircraft in the world.

The aircraft had about 92 tonnes or 110,000 litres of fuel on board. The airline analysed a decade of seasonal wind patterns to prepare for the new daily service.

At a function on the eve of its departure from Perth, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce described the new service as a "big step for Western Australia, big step for Australia, big step for Qantas and a big step for aviation".

"[It] is a game-changer for Australian aviation: the last two continents of the world that just don't have a direct link. We're so excited." he said.

He went on to praise the efforts of the many people involved in establishing the new non-stop service to the UK: the State Government of Western Australia, the Federal Government, border security and Perth airport. He singled out Neil Perry for designing menus that will reduce jet lag.

Joyce made special mention for the people of Qantas, who have endured a turbulent past few years.

"They have turned this great airline around. There are 30,000 of them. There's been hundreds of them working on this project for months and without their efforts we would never be here today."


Qantas is making much of its developments in reducing jet lag for long-distance travel with partners such as celebrity chef Perry and Sydney University's Charles Perkins Centre as their point of difference.

"We've designed a whole new end-to-end experience," said Qantas International CEO, Alison Webster, "to ensure our customers arrive refreshed and ready to hit the ground running."

The flight path of QF9. Source / Flight Aware
The flight path of QF9. Source / Flight Aware

She highlighted the "new international lounge that brings together the best culinary, design and scientific minds, the in-flight menu and service all based on research to reduce jet lag."

The addition of the first ever non-stop flight to Europe will ease pressure on existing routes, Webster said, "it's allowed us to build even more flexibility across our entire network".

"We can use [our other aircraft] to open up other routes, like Melbourne San-Francisco and Melbourne-Denpasar," she said.

"We can bulk up our service to Asia with more seats to Singapore and Japan than ever before."

The Perth-to-London route is expected to bring growth to Western Australia.

WA Premier Mark McGowan brought humour to the proceedings: "There's only one person missing [from the flight] – David Boon," he said.

"If David Boon was there it would be a truly historic flight," he said, making reference to Boon's legendary 52 cans of beer consumed on a flight between Sydney and London in 1989.

"We'll do our best to outdo him," he added to laughter from the crowd.

He went on to mention the close ties to the UK in Western Australia with 1 in 9 residents having been born in Britain, which, he hopes, will encourage Britons to use the service to visit family and friends.

The coffee bar in the new Qantas transit lounge in Perth. Photo / Supplied
The coffee bar in the new Qantas transit lounge in Perth. Photo / Supplied

Shadow Tourism Minister Anthony Albanese, not to be outdone, mentioned a recent Qantas first flight to Dubai.

"For anyone who was on the last major Qantas flight, to Dubai," he said, "they know there'll be some people who'll be competing," he said referring to McCormack's request for Boon to be on the flight.

"Whoever sinks the most cans on this flight," he added, "holds the non-stop record until it's beaten."

Joyce mentioned Qantas' near century of flying.

"Qantas has been preparing for this moment for 98 years," he said.

He gave a run-down of the many aviation achievements of the airline and its ability to move with the times and technological developments, giving special mention to the first Sydney to London service, the Kangaroo route that took "seven stops and took four days".

"Incrementally, it became more affordable, it became more comfortable and it became shorter," he said.

"When two hundred people take their seats, the 16 crew take their seats, they will do the flight in seventeen hours and twenty minutes. Non-stop."

Alex Robertson is flying from Perth to London courtesy of Qantas