Qantas will launch its first direct flight between Europe and Australia in March 2018, the airline announced. Running between London and Perth, it will be the shortest and fastest version of the so-called "Kangaroo Route" in its 70-year history, it said.
The 9000 mile journey will be made in the comparatively new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which launched for use in commercial flights in 2014. The flight, which will take around 17 hours was lauded by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce as "game changing".
In a statement issued by the airline, Joyce said: "When Qantas created the Kangaroo Route to London in 1947, it took four days and nine stops. Now it will take just 17 hours from Perth non-stop.
"This is a game-changing route flown by a game-changing aircraft. Australians have never had a direct link to Europe before, so the opportunities this opens up are huge."
He added that the new flights would not only create the first direct flight between Australia and Europe, but would also create jobs and tourism as well as bringing Australia "closer to one of our biggest trade partners and sources of visitors."
However, the news comes shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration published a document noting "unsafe" conditions requiring immediate attention. The FAA said airlines must restart the electrical power within seven days of its announcement and on an ongoing basis at least every 21 days. According to the FAA, the control modules could otherwise reset of their own accord if left on for 22 days. A permanent solution to the problem should, however, be delivered well in advance of the March 2018 flight launch.
According to Qantas, the new flight will be the third-longest passenger flight in the world, as well as the longest Boeing Dreamliner flight in the world. Qantas flew direct between London and Sydney on an un-refuelled flight once before, in 1989. The flight took 19 hours and 52 minutes.