Qantas to fly from London to Australia non-stop
Passengers will be able to fly from London to Australia non-stop when airline Qantas launches its new service from March 2018.
Australia's national carrier says it will connect Perth, in the west of the country, to the UK capital using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
The 9,000 mile (14,498km) flight will take 17 hours.
Perth will be a hub for passengers from eastern Australia going to the UK, tourism minister Steven Ciobo said.
He also said the new service would boost employment and tourism in Australia, a sector growing three times faster than the rest of the national economy, and one that supports 580,000 jobs.
Mr Ciobo also said that the UK was Australia's third-largest source of international visitors, with 660,000 people travelling from there to Australia in 2015.
"When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops," Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce said.
"Now it will take just 17 hours from Perth non-stop."
Five facts about Perth
- Perth is often said to be the most remote city in the world as its nearest city of one million people is Adelaide - 1,207 miles (2,104km) away. However, Auckland in New Zealand is even more remote with Sydney its closest, some 1,337 miles (2,153km) away
- The city dates to 1829 when the Swan River Colony was established by the British government. Aboriginal people had however lived in the area for thousands of years
- It was named after the Scottish city of the same name, which was the birthplace and parliamentary constituency of then British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Sir George Murray
- The Perth Mint, which opened in 1899, is Australia's oldest existing mint - it struck more than 106 million gold sovereigns and nearly 735,000 half-sovereigns from 1899-1931
- Actor Heath Ledger and cricketers Dennis Lillee, Terry Alderman and Justin Langer, were all born in Perth, while actress Isla Fisher lived there from the age of six
He added: "The opportunities this opens up are huge.
"It's great news for travellers because it will make it easier to get to London. It's great news for Western Australia because it will bring jobs and tourism. And it's great news for the nation, because it will bring us closer to one of our biggest trade partners and sources of visitors."
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners used on the route will carry 236 passengers, Qantas said.
The new flights will make up the longest non-stop passenger route in the world.
The current longest non-stop scheduled flight is Emirates Airlines' 14,200-kilometre Dubai-to-Auckland, New Zealand, service, which takes 16 hours 35 minutes in an Airbus A380.
What else can you do in 17 hours?
- Watch Gone With The Wind four and a half times
- Fly to the International Space Station almost three times
- Read about a third of War And Peace - at an average of three words a second
- Watch the first 18 episodes of Games of Thrones, and still have half an hour to spare.
- Drive round the M25 - at 70mph, with no traffic - 10 times
- Play 11 games of football
The first air travel connecting the UK to Australia began in 1935, flying passengers from Sydney to Singapore, where services linked with London-bound flights.
However, the journey time to London was 12 days and included a section on a train.
Qantas launched its pioneering weekly service on the Kangaroo Route on 1 December 1947, initially taking four days and carrying 29 passengers and 11 crew from Sydney to London.
The journey flew to Darwin, in northern Australia, and then on to Singapore, Calcutta in India, Karachi and Cairo, before it travelled to Tripoli, in Libya, and then on to London.
The announcement of the new route comes as Boeing also announced airline Iran Air was buying 80 of its passenger planes.
The 10-year deal includes the purchase of 50 Boeing 737 aircraft and 30 777 planes.