First direct Australia-Europe flight takes off

PERTH: The “Kangaroo Route” from Australia to Britain became a shorter hop on Saturday when the first direct passenger service left Perth for London, with the 17-hour flight set to break aviation records.
Qantas’ 14,498 km journey from the southwestern city to London is the world’s third-longest passenger flight, the Australian carrier said, and the first ever regular service to connect the two continents directly.
Captained by Lisa Norman, it will also be the longest Boeing Dreamliner flight in the world.
The new link is part of Qantas’ ambitious plans, unveiled over the past two years, to add ultra long-haul flights to its global schedules.
This will eventually include non-stop flights from Australia’s eastern seaboard to Europe in an effort dubbed “Project Sunrise”.
Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce last year said such flights were “the last frontier of global aviation… the antidote to the tyranny of distance and a revolution for air travel in Australia”.
The world’s second-oldest airline operated its first “Kangaroo Route” service, from Sydney to London, in 1947, when it took four days and nine stops.
Joyce called the new Perth-London service a “game-changing route”. Tourism officials hope the shortened travelling time will open up Australia’s less-populated west coast to more domestic and international visitors.