Australian airline Qantas has made aviation history by directly connecting Australia and Europe. DW also looks at some of the other longest flights in the world.
The first direct flight from Australia to the United Kingdom landed at Heathrow airport on Sunday morning. The Qantas flight departed from the Western Australian city of Perth, cutting about three hours off the travel time to Europe by not having stopovers in Asia or the Middle East.
The 17-hour flight, flown by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, covered a distance of more than 9,000 miles (14,484 km).
The flight marked a “historic day for aviation,” said Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce. “From today it will be the first link between Australia and Europe that has ever occurred non-stop in aviation. We are so excited.”
The old “Kangaroo Route” from Sydney to London 70 years ago had nine stopovers and took four days. This flight traveled at around 900 kilometers per hour and used 20 percent less fuel than similar sized airplanes.
Mena Rawlings, Britain’s high commissioner to Australia, 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.”
The world’s longest flights
- The longest commercial journey is Qatar Airways Flight 921 from Auckland, New Zealand to Qatar, which flies passengers over 14,500 km (9,000 miles) in nearly 18 hours on Boeing 777 airliners.
- Emirates Airline Flight 449, with Airbus A380 superjumbos, from Auckland to Dubai, travels a distance of 14,200 km in 17 and a half hours.
- The new Qantas service is part of the airline’s plans to eventually connect Europe with airports on Australia’s east coast.
- The longest flight from the United States was launched last year by United Airlines and connects Los Angeles’ LAX airport to Singapore using 787s.
- There is also United Airline’s flight from Houston to Australia, crossing 13,800 km in around 17 and a half hours, also on 787s.
- The longest commercial flights today do not compare to the now discontinued Singapore Airlines Flight 22, which covered a distance of over 15,000 km. Using Airbus A340 airliners, the route from Singapore to New York’s Newark airport was operational from 2004 to 2013. The service was suspended to cut costs, however the airline says there are plans to reopen the route, using the ultra-long range version of the Airbus A350.
cl/ng (AFP, dpa, Reuters)