News - FIRST NON-STOP FLIGHT FROM AUSTRALIA TO UK ARRIVES IN LONDON ON 'HISTORIC DAY FOR AVIATION'

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A momentous occasion on the flight deck of QF9... Image Source: Qantas Airways

Qantas Airways Ltd started non-stop regular direct flights between Australia and the UK this weekend. The maiden flight Qantas 9 (QF9), touched down at Terminal Three of London’s Heathrow Airport at 5.02am on Sunday. The flight took off from Perth, Australia at 7 pm local time (11 am GMT) on Saturday and completed the 9,226-mile journey in about 17 hours.

The new route, is the first non-stop passenger service between Australia and Europe, providing a convenient link between the financial centres of Europe and the Mineral wealth of Western Australia. It is around three hours quicker than routes that involve stopovers in the Middle East to refuel or change planes.

The premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan was among the 200 passengers who were part of the maiden flight. He tweeted a picture of the Australian delegation of politicians and officials, the flight's pilots and a didgeridoo player in Aboriginal dress and body paint at the terminal.

Airline Chief Executive for Qantas Airways, Alan Joyce remarked that the flight marked a “historic day for aviation”. "From today it will be the first link between Australia and Europe that has ever occurred non-stop in aviation," he told reporters at a launch event. "We are so excited." 

About 730,000 British tourists visit Australia every year and the new service could boost interest in the state of Western Australia, often overlooked in favour of the country's east coast, said Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo.

"There will be more opportunity than ever before for us to continue to showcase and highlight all the very best parts of Australia, including some of the most magnificent and iconic parts of Western Australia," he said.

Going further, Britain’s high commissioner to Australia Mena Rawlings described the new service as a “game-changer”.

"To have the opportunity to get on a plane at Heathrow and step out in Perth is just phenomenally exciting and I'm sure we are going to see lots and lots of people taking advantage of that."

Qantas plans to introduce non-stop flights from Australia's east coast to Britain in the next few years.

News source: The Telegraph (www.telegraph.co.uk).

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