LONDON: Passengers hoping to travel on Qantas’ first direct flight between Perth and London will pay a “very competitive” $2270 for a return economy fare, The West Australian can reveal. Qantas is expected to be overwhelmed by demand for the 18-hour, nonstop service when the flights go on sale from 9.30am today. The first flight in the 236-seat Boeing 787-9 will take off from Perth at 6.50pm on Saturday, March 24 next year, arriving at London’s Heathrow Airport at 5.10am the next day. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce yesterday told The West Australian flights from Perth to Berlin, Rome and Paris were the next nonstop routes on the airline’s radar. Return economy fares to London will start from $2270, a price described by travel agents as “very competitive” but which is expected to fall below $2000 during sales. A return premium economy fare will be from $4250 and business class from $9725. Amity Travel’s Luke Chittock said demand for the service would be high, particularly in the premium cabins.
“With increased security around the world, more and more passengers are asking for nonstops,” Mr Chittock said. Mr Joyce said the service would bring a level of convenience Australians had not experienced. “We’ve said the Qantas Dreamliner is a game changer and that’s now becoming real,” he said. “The Kangaroo Route has kept changing with new technology. “It used to take four days and seven stops but now we’re able to link Australia and the UK in a single hop.” Mr Joyce said the airline was conscious that Perth to London was a long flight, “but not much longer than our Sydney to Dallas service”. “We’ve added a very high level of comfort in each of the cabins and a lower seat count than most of our competitors,” he said. “And we’re making tweaks to our in-flight service designed to help customers enjoy the journey more.” Qantas has expanded its marketing partnership with Tourism Western Australia to maximise the tourism benefits of the new service, and will make the Perth-London service the focus of the next phase of its Feels Like Home advertising campaign launching this weekend. The campaign will also run in Britain.