From the CEO

It’s easy to for­get just how dra­mat­i­cally long-haul travel has changed in the past 70 years.

Qantas - - Qnews. - CEO, Qan­tas Alan Joyce

When Qan­tas first started fly­ing to Lon­don with Con­stel­la­tion air­craft in 1947, the jour­ney took four days and there were nine stops. The Boe­ing 707 – the first jet­liner – cut the trip to four stops. Fly­ing via Singapore, Bahrain, Bangkok and Cairo was a typ­i­cal way of get­ting to Lon­don in 1968.

The 707 also helped open up the Pa­cific. In the 1950s, Qan­tas used it to op­er­ate the first reg­u­lar com­mer­cial flights to the US’s west coast via Fiji and Hawaii. By the late ’80s, we were able to do it in a sin­gle leg, thanks to the Boe­ing 747-400 – which also trans­formed the Kan­ga­roo Route, en­abling just one stop.

Around that time, avi­a­tion talk turned to the hub-and-spoke model, or the idea of fly­ing peo­ple to dozens of des­ti­na­tions from a sin­gle hub like Singapore, Hong Kong or, more re­cently, Dubai.

The re­cur­ring theme here is the im­pact of new tech­nol­ogy and, in par­tic­u­lar, new air­craft and en­gines. Like any in­dus­try, avi­a­tion is al­ways mak­ing small, in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ments. But ev­ery so of­ten a plane like the 707 or the 747 rev­o­lu­tionises what is pos­si­ble. And we’re at that point again today with the Boe­ing 787 Dream­liner.

For Qan­tas, the Dream­liner is a game changer that fa­cil­i­tates a break­through we’ve had our eye on for a while: non­stop flights from Perth to Lon­don with­out stop­ping at a hub. This is largely due to the plane’s ad­vanced en­gines and aero­dy­nam­ics, which re­duce the amount of fuel it burns.

Es­tab­lish­ing the first di­rect link be­tween Aus­tralia and Europe was an ex­cit­ing prospect we first se­ri­ously con­sid­ered a cou­ple of years ago. De­tailed anal­y­sis be­gan in mid-2016 and in­volved steps such as run­ning daily flight plans to un­der­stand fac­tors like the ideal weight of the air­craft and the av­er­age weather con­di­tions on the route.

Pre­par­ing for Perth-Lon­don also meant giv­ing a lot of thought to the ex­pe­ri­ence we want you to have on board. Yes, it’s a long jour­ney but the Dream­liner has built-in tech­nolo­gies to smooth out tur­bu­lence and min­imise jet lag. The air­craft was de­signed with this type of flight in mind and we’ve tailored ours with a rel­a­tively low num­ber of seats, new fea­tures in all the cab­ins and some tweaks to the way we pro­vide ser­vice.

Our plan­ning depart­ment is al­ready weigh­ing up fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of long-haul air­craft and pos­si­ble non­stop routes to Lon­don or New York from Aus­tralia’s east coast. For now, though, it’s all about crack­ing on with prepa­ra­tions for Perth-Lon­don. The first flights take off in March next year and we can’t wait to get started.

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