The first ever non-stop service between Europe and Australia kicked off today with Qantas flight 9 from Perth to London Heathrow. The flight departed Australia one minute early at 6:49pm and is scheduled to arrive in the UK at 5am Sunday morning (10 minutes ahead of schedule). The 9,000 mile and 17 hour journey marks the first time the two continents are joined by direct passenger service. Passengers can save 2-5 hours depending on whether they would have to connect in Asia or the Middle East (Singapore’s flight to London via Singapore would take 2.5 hours longer, but would save about $1640 USD). Bloomberg says that many in Western Australia may be wiling to pay the premium:
Mining companies in Western Australia dig up more than a third of the world’s iron-ore and bring in some of the largest hauls of gems and rare earths. The sector also supports financial-services firms such as Hartleys Ltd., whose Perth-based director of corporate finance Steve Kite is booked on Sunday’s flight — the second in the new service to London — for just a four-day trip.
Now, for those in Sydney or Melbourne, connecting in Perth doesn’t really save much time over a connection in Asia or the Middle East. The real value is for those in Western Australia who now effectively have an overnight flight to London.