Qantas says the 12 months since the launch of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner London to Perth route – the only direct link between Europe and Australia – has seen strong demand along with speed records broken.
Qantas Group chief executive officer, Alan Joyce released a report card showing what London-Perth has achieved so far and key data from an independent analysis by Deloitte Access Economics.
Over 150,000 passengers have been carried in year one of the route – the longest flight on the Qantas network and it also has the highest customer satisfaction rating. Each flight is around 14,000kms for a total of 10.2 million kilometres travelled on the route so far.
Strong customer demand has seen the flights average at 94 per cent full, with average flight times between London and Perth averaging at 16 hours and 5 minutes, with the fastest flight being 15 hours and 15 minutes.
UK residents make up the majority of overseas passengers at 31 per cent, while just under 60 per cent of passengers on the London-Perth leg are from Australia. Qantas has seen a 30 per cent increase in the total number of passengers travelling between London and Australia via Perth – including a seven per cent increase in visitors from the UK travelling to Perth.
Joyce said: “There were a lot of expectations around this flight, both within Qantas and the broader community, and frankly it’s exceeded them.
“A year of operating this route shows that a hub in WA connecting Australia to the world works really well. We have people coming from the east coast to join the flight and it’s made it a lot easier for people in Europe to visit Australia.
“Almost every flight is full and it turned a profit almost immediately, which is rare for new services because they have start up costs and it normally takes time to build demand.
“The work we put into managing passenger jetlag 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.”
Joyce said there had been several pleasant surprises over the 12 months, which would be used to inform the planning for other ultra-long haul flights. The airline is looking into the potential to operate a direct Sydney-London route in future.
He said: “The yoga studio in our new Perth lounge has been used by more than 80 per cent of passengers, which is a lot more than we expected.
“We didn’t plan to regularly break speed records in both directions. The current title holder arrived into Perth from London a full hour ahead schedule thanks to prevailing winds and our new flight planning system.
“Despite all the complicated logistics and technical challenges, there have been only been four cancelled flights out of 720 planned services for a reliability rating of 99.5 per cent. That’s a credit to the literally hundreds of Qantas people behind the scenes involved in making everything work smoothly.”